Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Key Considerations for Family Members and SurvivorsApril 30, 2023
The death of a family member is always difficult, but it can be particularly devastating when it is the result of negligence or the wrongdoing of somebody else. In such cases, family members and survivors may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to seek justice and compensation for their loss. However, navigating the legal system can be overwhelming, especially during a time of grief. Here are some key things to consider if you are thinking about filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal claim that is brought by the surviving relatives of a person who has died as a result of the negligence, recklessness, or intentional actions of another person or entity. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to seek compensation for the relatives’ losses such as medical expenses, funeral costs, lost income, and emotional distress.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Each state has its own laws governing who is legally able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In Texas, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased.
What Types of Deaths Can Result in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit can arise from a wide range of situations, including:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Defective products
- Workplace accidents
- Criminal acts
- Slip and fall accidents
- Nursing home abuse and neglect
- Aviation accidents
- Construction accidents
- Boating accidents
To win a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving relatives need to prove that the defendant’s actions were the direct cause of the deceased’s death. Typically, this requires showing that the defendant was negligent in some way. For example, they may have failed to follow safety procedures, which led to an accident resulting in a fatality, or behaved recklessly, causing a fatal accident. Providing negligence can be complex and may require the support and assistance of expert witnesses and other evidence.
Statute of Limitations
Each state has a statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits, which is the amount of time that surviving relatives have to file a claim after the death of their loved one. In Texas, you have two years to file a wrongful death claim. It’s crucial to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires, as failing to do so can result in the claim being barred from court.
If the surviving relatives are successful in their wrongful death lawsuit, they may be awarded damages. Damages are typically divided into two categories: economic and non-economic. Economic damages refer to financial losses such as funeral costs, medical expenses, lost income, and other expenses directly related to the death of the loved one. Non-economic damages refer to intangible losses like pain and suffering, emotional distress, and loss of companionship.
In some cases, the defendant may offer a settlement to the surviving relatives in order to avoid going to trial. It’s important to carefully consider any settlement offers and get legal advice before accepting. While a settlement may provide immediate compensation, it may not always account for all the damages that you have suffered.
Factors Affecting the Outcome of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are many factors that may influence the outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit. Some of the most important factors to consider include the strength of the evidence, the skill and experience of the legal team, and the willingness of the defendant to negotiate a settlement. Some key factors to consider include:
1 – Strength of Evidence
The strength of the evidence is one of the most important factors in any wrongful death lawsuit. To prove negligence, surviving relatives need to have sufficient evidence to prove that the defendant’s actions directly caused their loved one’s death. This might include medical records, eyewitness testimonies, accident reports, and other documentation.
It’s important to work with an experienced attorney who can help gather and present the evidence in the strongest possible way. At Amaro Law Firm, we work with expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction specialists and medical experts to help you build a persuasive case.
2 – Defendant’s Willingness to Negotiate
In some cases, the defendant may be willing to negotiate a settlement rather than go to trial. This may be particularly likely if the evidence against them is strong, or if they are concerned about the potential for a large damages award or negative publicity in the future.
It’s crucial to consider all the potential costs and benefits when negotiating a settlement. Bear in mind that in some cases, accepting a settlement may require waiving the right to pursue further legal action in the future, so only do it if you are happy to close the case and are satisfied with the compensation amount offered.
3 – Type of Damages
The potential damages award is another essential factor in a wrongful death lawsuit. Economic damages are relatively straightforward to calculate since they are based on actual financial losses incurred by the surviving relatives. On the other hand, non-economic damages are typically more difficult to calculate, since they may vary widely depending on the specific circumstances of the case.
The Emotional Impact on Surviving Relatives
It’s crucial to consider the emotional impact that a wrongful death lawsuit can have on you as a surviving relative. These lawsuits can be emotionally draining and often involve going over the details of your loved one’s death, which can prolong the grieving process. It’s crucial to have a strong support system in place including family, friends, and mental health professionals.
Choosing the Right Legal Team
The skill and experience of your legal team can make all the difference when it comes to the outcome of a wrongful death lawsuit. At Amaro Law Firm, we understand the importance of having a supportive attorney by your side in this type of case. Our sensitive, empathetic approach is tailored to your needs during this difficult time, as we help you navigate the complexities of your case and fight to get the compensation you deserve. If you believe the death of a loved one was wrongful, contact us today to see how we can help.
Visit our Dallas office at 2351 W Northwest Hwy Suite 2306.
Call now for a free consultation on (469) 502-5251.