If you’ve lost someone to another person’s negligent or reckless behavior, you’re probably wondering what options you have. One is to file a wrongful death lawsuit to pursue financial justice.
Before you start preparing your case, it’s important to understand some of the rules and regulations in play. For example, you must file your wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the incident.
You will also need to make sure that the appropriate party begins the case. While an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help, only specific people can open the lawsuit.
Read on to find out who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Houston.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Your eligibility will depend on your relationship to the deceased. Eligible parties include:
- spouses of the deceased, including legal and common-law spouses
- a parent of the deceased, including biological or adoptive parents
- a child of the deceased, including biological or adopted children
If none of these relatives file a wrongful death claim within three months of the death, the deceased’s estate executor is free to do so. While other relatives that aren’t listed above, such as siblings or grandparents, may want to file a wrongful death claim, they will not be eligible to do so.
What Factors Do You Need to Prove in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Once you know who can file the wrongful death claim, it’s important to understand what you’ll need to prove. In order for a death to qualify legally as “wrongful,” you will need to demonstrate the following:
- the defendant owed the deceased the duty of care
- the defendant breached that duty of care through action or inaction
- the defendant’s breach of the duty of care caused the death of the deceased
- the loss of the deceased left dependents with debt and other financial strain
The second factor is often the hardest to prove. You must show beyond a preponderance of the evidence that the defendant behaved negligently. In other words, you must show that the defendant could reasonably have prevented the death of your loved one if not for their negligent behavior.
Certain wrongful death claims can be harder to win than others. For example, it’s often much harder to win a wrongful death claim against a doctor than it is an at-fault driver. No matter who the defendant is, you should always hire an experienced wrongful death attorney.
Hire the Best Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer
Losing a loved one to a preventable death is one of the most heartbreaking things you can experience. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can’t heal your grief, but it can protect your financial security and keep additional hardship at bay.
To find out more about wrongful death lawsuits in Houston, contact us today. Tell us a bit about your case and we’ll give you our opinion about what your next steps should be.