Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Houston, Texas
If you have lost a loved one in an accident or another traumatic event, we at Payne Law Firm extend our deepest condolences. We recognize that there is nothing more difficult than facing the unexpected death of a family member, especially when their death was entirely preventable.
While no amount of money can bring back your loved one, a wrongful death case can help give you some closure. Payne Law Firm has worked with clients throughout Texas, helping them hold negligent people and parties accountable for devastating losses. If you believe someone else’s mistake resulted in the loss of your loved one, we can help.
What Is “Wrongful Death?”
By law, a “wrongful death” in Texas is one that is caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another person or party. In other words, if the person who died (known as the “decedent”) would have had grounds to bring a personal injury lawsuit had he or she lived, his or her death is likely considered “wrongful.”
Wrongful deaths often result from numerous types of accidents and intentional acts, such as:
- Car, motorcycle, SUV, and other automobile accidents
- Semi-truck, 18-wheeler, and other commercial vehicle collisions
- Accidents involving motor vehicles and bicyclists or pedestrians
- Criminal acts, such as assault, domestic violence, and murder
- Falls, including slip and falls and falls from heights
- Workplace accidents and injuries
- Accidents and injuries resulting from defective products
- Dog and other animal bites and attacks
- Accidents and injuries resulting from dangerous property conditions
- Rideshare (Uber, Lyft, etc.) accidents
- Bus, train, subway, and other mass transit accidents
If your loved one was killed or died due to injuries sustained in an accident or as the result of another’s wrongful or intentional misconduct, you could be entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Note that wrongful death claims are civil actions, separate from any criminal proceedings that may or may not occur. Additionally, the outcome of a criminal trial does not necessarily affect the outcome of a civil wrongful death action; it is possible to recover compensation for the wrongful death of your loved one even if the defendant is found not guilty or if criminal charges are dismissed.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Like many other states, Texas limits who can file a wrongful death lawsuit to certain surviving family members.
These surviving family members include the decedent’s:
Any of these individuals may file a claim separately or together. If none of the above-mentioned surviving family members files a wrongful death lawsuit within three months of the decedent’s death, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may bring a claim. However, a surviving family member of the decedent may specifically request that no wrongful death claim be brought.
Siblings, including both biological and adoptive siblings, as well as other family members and loved ones are generally not permitted to file wrongful death lawsuits in Texas (however, there are certain exceptions in which siblings are able to file a case).
Do You Have a Valid Wrongful Death Claim?
The loss of a loved one is devastating, and you may be unsure as to how you will ever pick up the pieces and move forward. In addition to the enormous loss you experienced, you may also be facing the expenses that come with an unexpected death in the family. If your loved one died as the result of the negligent or reckless actions of another person, you may have grounds to pursue legal action.
It can be overwhelming to think about the possibility of seeking compensation during your time of grief, but you do not have to face this process alone. Your family could benefit from the support and guidance of an experienced Houston wrongful death attorney. With the right help, you can effectively pursue the damages you and your loved ones deserve.
What You Need for a WrongFul Death Case
Losing a loved one does not necessarily mean you automatically have a wrongful death claim. There are certain elements that, if present in your case, may indicate that you have a valid reason to seek legal recourse. In addition to the death of a person, these include:
- A death caused by negligence, recklessness, or intent to harm
- Financial suffering of surviving family members because of the death
- Appointment of a representative of the decedent’s estate
There are many different circumstances that could give rise to a wrongful death claim. You may have a valid claim after a car accident, medical malpractice, criminal event, occupational exposure, or another preventable event that resulted in the loss of your loved one. While nothing can reverse what happened, seeking damages through a claim can allow you to recoup losses and look to the future.
What Damages Are Available in Wrongful Death Cases?
By filing a wrongful death claim, you seek financial compensation for specific losses, known as “damages,” you have endured due to the death of your loved one. Damages can be recovered on behalf of both surviving family members and the estate in Texas.
Some examples of common damages sought in wrongful death cases in Texas include:
- Medical costs associated with the decedent’s final treatment
- Reasonable and necessary funeral/burial expenses
- Lost earning capacity/income that would have been earned by the decedent
- Loss of advice, care, counsel, maintenance, services, and support provided by the decedent
- Pain and suffering, as well as mental and emotional anguish, grief, and trauma
- Loss of expected inheritance, including income/assets the decedent would have likely earned
- Loss of love, companionship, comfort, consortium, and society
Our Houston wrongful death attorneys can help you understand your legal rights and options in the wake of your loss, including the potential value of your case. We know that no amount of compensation can undo the loss you have experienced, but a successful case can provide the financial relief you need to cope with unexpected expenses. A successful lawsuit can also provide you and your family with a much-needed sense of justice, allowing you to heal.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
According to Texas' wrongful death statute, a deceased's family has a right to file a claim on their behalf for up to 2 years after the date of their death. This time limit is known as the “statute of limitations” and can differ from one state to the next, so it's important to understand the statutes imposed by the state where the death occurred. 2 years may sound like a long time, but as time passes witnesses' memories can lapse and evidence can be lost. Do not delay in filing your wrongful death lawsuit! Contact our team today for compassionate representation.
Call Our Houston Wrongful Death Attorneys Today
At Payne Law Firm, our goal is to fight for the best possible solution for you and your family. We provide free initial consultations and do not charge any attorney fees unless/until we recover compensation for you. To date, our team has secured millions of dollars in compensation for our clients, and we are ready to fight for you.
I am very pleased with my experience, Falon was very helpful throughout my case and was able to put the most back into my pockets in a timely manner. I highly recommend choosing this law firm to take care of you the best way possible!- Chris W.
Payne Law Firm was invaluable in helping my family navigate the most difficult situation we had ever experienced. Mr. Payne and his entire staff were professional, responsive, and empathetic throughout the entire process.- Fatimar J.
My experience with "Payne Law Firm" was extraordinary! They were efficient, professional, and persistent. I have and will continue to recommend “Payne Law Firm” because you are treated like family!- Sheori S.
My experience at Payne Law Firm was very pleasant. I had no worries at all. He was there for everything I needed help with.- Gloria J.
Compensation Can Help
Whether a result of a car accident or another incident, wrongful death cases can be notoriously tough, as they require thorough attention to detail. Our founding attorney, Jason E. Payne, is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization, which makes him well-suited to prevail in this kind of case.
We will examine all areas of your case in order to build the strongest possible claim. We are not afraid of going to court and are willing to do whatever it takes to reach a just and fair result. When you put Payne Law Firm by your side, you have a team you can count on.
Seeking compensation can help you and your family move forward. It can cover the cost of medical expenses, loss of income, and funeral and burial costs. It also can help with the mental and physical pain and suffering you have had to go through. We are not afraid of a challenge and are here to be your strongest advocate, from beginning to end.
We will help you every step of the way, providing answers to your questions and continuing to update you on the status of your case.
We have helped over a thousand injured individuals and families get the compensation they deserved.
We not only understand the complexities of insurance companies but know how to fight them.
Our team knows the importance of your case and is committed to doing what is best for you.