It is never easy to lose a spouse, child, or parent in a tragic accident, but that doesn’t mean their death is cause for legal action. However, when the death was caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another party, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages for your loss. At Larrick Law Firm PC, trial lawyer Elizabeth Larrick handles wrongful death claims with the compassion and sensitivity our clients need at this difficult time—and with the determination and commitment they deserve.

Possible Wrongful Death Claims in Texas

Any situation that would lead to a personal injury claim if the victim lives can become a wrongful death claim brought by the survivors if the victim is killed. Examples of possible wrongful death claims include the following:

  • Car accidents
  • Motorcycle crashes
  • Commercial vehicle crashes
  • Crashes caused by drunk drivers
  • Pedestrian or bicycle accidents
  • Assaults in parking lots caused by negligent security
  • Slips and falls in stores or movie theaters
  • Balcony or stair collapses

If you lost a loved one in an accident like one of these, you are likely overwhelmed with grief and confusion. While there may be criminal charges filed against the person who caused the accident, only a civil wrongful death claim will ensure that you are compensated for your losses. Allow Larrick Law Firm PC to determine if you have cause for a wrongful death action. There is no fee unless we win a settlement on your behalf.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate those who have suffered an emotional and financial loss because of the death. In Texas, the following people can file:

  • Spouse
  • Children, including adult children and adopted children
  • Parents
  • Executor of the deceased person’s estate, unless a family member specifically forbids it

These parties can file singly, or they may choose to file as a group. Texas law excludes siblings from filing wrongful death claims for the loss of a brother or sister.

Damages That May Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Claim

While criminal charges are intended to punish the defendant for breaking the law by imposing a jail sentence or collecting fines, civil suits are intended to force the defendant to compensate the victim’s dependents for what was taken from them. In a wrongful death claim, survivors may be awarded the following:

  • Loss of earning capacity, or the wages the deceased would have provided to his dependents over the course of his lifetime
  • Lost care, maintenance, services, support, advice, and counsel the deceased would have provided his or her surviving family members
  • Mental and emotional anguish, pain, and suffering
  • Lost love, companionship, comfort, and society
  • Lost inheritance, including what the deceased would likely have saved and left to surviving family members if he or she had lived a normal expected lifetime
If the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious—such as drunk driving or assault—the judge may order them to pay punitive damages in addition to the damages listed above. While punitive damages may be awarded to the survivors in some cases, the intent is not to compensate them but to punish the defendant for willful actions or gross negligence.

Allow Us to Act Quickly on Your Behalf

The statute of limitations for wrongful death in Texas is two years. That means you have two years from the date of your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death claim. This may seem like plenty of time, but as you are grieving and caring for your family, two years can easily slip away. Make a call to Larrick Law Firm PC as soon as you are able after the loss of your loved one. We will gather the necessary information and deal with the at-fault party as you hold your family together. We are proud to help those who have suffered a loss get the compensation they deserve. Contact us at our Austin office today.