According to the CDC, there are almost 225,000 deaths in the U.S. each year due to unintentional injuries. Though many of these are honest accidents, some of these unintentional deaths are preventable, straddling the line between simple mistakes and the result of neglect.
That’s why it’s so important to understand when it’s time to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the death of a loved one happened due to the wrongful act of another person, you may be entitled to compensation for your loss.
Navigating the Houston legal system can be challenging, which is why we often get questions about when and how to file this type of lawsuit. Read on to learn what you should know.
Make Sure You Have a Case
How can you tell when you have a case for wrongful death in Texas?
Wrongful death cases are different from cases that need criminal prosecution. If the death of your loved one may have been a homicide, you will need to work with a criminal lawyer to prove that the accused is guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a criminal case, the accused acted with the intention to cause harm.
In a wrongful death case, on the other hand, the accused caused harm through recklessness or negligent behavior. In this type of case, you’ll use evidence to prove liability, not guilt.
In the state of Texas, the statute covering wrongful death claims explains when you have a case. In general, you’ll need to prove that your loved one’s death happened due to another person’s negligence, carelessness, or wrongful actions. In general, if the deceased could have filed a personal injury claim had they survived, you have a claim.
However, you’ll have to bring your case before the statute of limitations expires. In Texas, you have only two years to file a claim, though there are a few exceptions.
Know Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Not just anyone can file a lawsuit for wrongful death. You’ll need to be connected to the deceased in one of the following ways:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving child or dependent blood relative, biological or legally adopted
- Surviving parent, biological or legally adopted
Siblings cannot bring a wrongful death suit in Texas. However, it’s still possible to file a lawsuit if you’ve been named the personal representative of the deceased’s estate.
Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer
Once you’re sure that you have a case for wrongful death in Houston, it’s time to file a claim. Though it’s possible to navigate the legal system and file a petition on your own, the process can be challenging and confusing. Worse, people without legal experience are less likely to succeed in their suits.
That’s why contacting a wrongful death lawyer is a smart move. Not only can a lawyer offer a free consultation to determine if you have a case at all, but they can also help you draft and organize the documents you need for your claim. They can even help you gather evidence, negotiate a settlement, or prepare yourself for a possible trial.
Let Us Handle Your Case
As trusted personal injury lawyers in Houston, our experienced team is here to help you handle your wrongful death lawsuit. From medical malpractice to vehicular accidents to workplace accidents, we take on a wide range of wrongful death suits. If you’re concerned that negligence caused the death of your loved one, contact us immediately.