Houston Wrongful Death Attorney
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas
At Vaughan Legal Trial Team, we know that there is nothing more difficult than losing someone you love unexpectedly. If your family member or loved one died due to the negligent or wrongful conduct of another, we can help you seek the justice you deserve.
Since 2003, our firm has represented clients throughout Harris County and all of Texas, offering personalized and compassionate legal guidance from start to finish. Led by our Houston wrongful death attorney, Jeffery Vaughan, we are here to help you hold the liable party accountable and seek the maximum compensation you are owed.
What Is Considered a “Wrongful Death” in Texas?
Texas law defines a “wrongful death” as the death of a person resulting from the “wrongful act, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another. Essentially, if the person who died (referred to as the “decedent”) would have had grounds to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit had they lived, their death is considered wrongful.
Often, wrongful death cases arise from accidents and injuries caused by:
- Motor vehicle accidents, such as car crashes, motorcycle wrecks, and large truck collisions
- Dangerous and defective products, including defective medical devices
- Medical malpractice/negligence, including misdiagnosis, birth injuries, and more
- Offshore and maritime accidents, such as oil rig explosions and accidents onboard ships
- Exposure to harmful and/or toxic chemicals, such as Roundup or paraquat-containing herbicides
- Slip and falls, dog bites/attacks, and other premises liability-related incidents
If your loved one died due to catastrophic injuries resulting from the carelessness or recklessness of another person or party, you could have grounds for a wrongful death claim. Get in touch with our team to learn more during a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
In Texas, certain surviving individuals have first priority when it comes to filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit.
These individuals include the decedent’s surviving:
These individuals may file a claim separately or together on behalf of all eligible surviving individuals. However, if the decedent’s surviving spouse, child/children, or parents do not file a wrongful death claim within three months of the date of death, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a claim unless the decedent’s surviving spouse, child/children, and parents all request that no such claim be filed.
Damages in Texas Wrongful Death Cases
In Texas, wrongful death damages are sought on behalf of eligible surviving family members (i.e., the decedent’s spouse, child/children, or parents). The purpose of these claims is to compensate these individuals for specific losses they have endured as a result of their loved one’s death.
Examples of damages that may be available in your Texas wrongful death case include:
- Loss of expected inheritance
- Funeral and/or burial expenses
- Loss of care, support, maintenance, services, advice, and counsel
- The value of household services provided by the decedent
- Medical expenses related to the decedent’s final care
- Mental and emotional pain and suffering experienced by the claimant
- Loss of income and earning capacity
- Loss of love, comfort, society, and companionship provided by the decedent
In some cases, it may also be possible to recover punitive damages. Unlike compensatory damages, such as those listed above, punitive damages do not compensate surviving family members for their losses. Instead, punitive damages focus on the defendant’s wrongdoing. These damages are meant to punish defendants for egregious negligence, wanton/willful misconduct, and/or intentional infliction of injury, harm, or death.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
Texas law allows you to file a wrongful death lawsuit up to two years after the date of death. However, if the two-year statute of limitations expires, you will almost certainly be ineligible to sue the liable party for damages.
We encourage you to reach out to our Houston wrongful death attorney right away. The sooner we can start working on your case, the sooner you can begin the healing process. We offer free initial consultations and contingency fees, so you do not owe anything unless we recover a settlement or jury verdict on your behalf.