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May 28, 2024
McLaurin Law

How to Prove Wrongful Death for Texas Cases

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You expected to have your loved one around for years, but because of some careless person’s negligence, that loved one is no longer with you. You understandably want compensation for this loss, but you’re unsure how to prove wrongful death.

Below, a Texas wrongful death attorney explains how to prove negligence, the potential damages you can recover, and who may file a wrongful death suit.

How Can You Prove Wrongful Death in Texas?

Like other personal injury claims based on negligence, a wrongful death case requires your Texas wrongful death lawyer to prove that:

  • The defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one.
  • The defendant breached this duty.
  • Their breach of duty caused your loved one’s death.
  • You’ve suffered compensable damages.

To illustrate further, here’s an example: Mary and Joe are driving to a restaurant. Suddenly, an aggressive driver deliberately hits their car from behind, causing it to fly off the road. Joe perishes in the accident, while Mary survives with serious injuries. Mary can sue the aggressive driver because they breached their duty to drive safely and this led to Joe’s death.

Proving wrongful death can be tricky, but it’s not as difficult as proving guilt in a criminal case. That’s because wrongful death cases are based on the preponderance of evidence. What this means is that you must show it’s more likely than not that the defendant’s actions caused your loved one’s death. In criminal cases, on the other hand, you must prove the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.

Damages for a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas

If your wrongful death attorney in Texas wins your case, you can recover damages such as:

  • Funeral and burial costs
  • The deceased’s final medical bills
  • Estate administration costs
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of the deceased’s income
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of domestic support

In some cases, the judge might also order the defendant to pay punitive damages. This typically happens when the defendant acted in an extremely reckless or intentional manner. For instance, in the above example, a judge would probably award Mary punitive damages because the other driver deliberately hit her car.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?

In Texas, only certain parties can file a wrongful death claim. They are, in order of priority:

  • The surviving spouse
  • A surviving child (adult or minor)
  • The only remaining parent
  • A child formally adopted by the deceased
  • The representative of the deceased’s estate

If there are no surviving close family members or estate representatives, the court will assign someone to serve as the representative. This could be a distant relative, such as a cousin or uncle.

Contact a Texas wrongful death attorney if you’re unsure whether you can file a claim.

Is There a Time Limit for Wrongful Death Claims?

You must file a wrongful death claim within two years of a death. If you don’t, you can’t recover damages. There are a few rare exceptions to the deadline, such as:

  • You were incapacitated and physically unable to make a claim.
  • You were a minor when your loved one died (in this case, you must make a claim within two years of your 18th birthday).
  • You were unable to locate the defendant before the deadline.

Hire Legal Services for Wrongful Death in Texas

If you lost a loved one because of someone’s negligence and wish to pursue Texas wrongful death litigation, reach out to McLaurin Law, PLLC. Our attorneys have years of experience handling wrongful death claims in Texas, and your Texas wrongful death attorney will fight hard in pursuit of fair compensation for your loved one’s passing.

For Texas wrongful death legal representation, call (713) 322 5523.

Copyright © 2023. McLaurin Law, PLLC. All Rights Reserved.
The information in this blog post (“post”) is provided for general informational purposes only and may not reflect the current law in your jurisdiction. No information in this post should be construed as legal advice from the individual author or the law firm, nor is it intended to be a substitute for legal counsel on any subject matter. No reader of this post should act or refrain from acting based on any information included in or accessible through this post without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer licensed in the recipient’s state, country, or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.
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