When a family member dies, the news can be devastating and dramatically affect those closest to the person who passed away. The experience can be made worse if the death happens needlessly at the hands of another person.
In Texas, a surviving family member can file a wrongful death claim if their loved one died as a result of a wrongful act, neglect, unskillfulness or carelessness by another party. Legitimate claims include a person dying from being hit by a drunk driver or if they pass away as a result of medical malpractice. In cases where a person died from an accident on another person’s property, it can be argued that the property owner did not maintain their property to a safe standard and because of that, a person died.
There may be nothing that can bring a loved one back, but the surviving family members do have the right to get justice and be compensated for their loss by filing a wrongful death suit. According to a Texas statute, the surviving spouse, parents, children or the executor of the estate belonging to the deceased has a legal right to file a lawsuit within two years of their loss. They can be compensated for medical bills and funeral expenses. The loss of inheritance from what that family member may have been able to put away if they would have lived out their life and lost capacity to earn a salary for the family, these can also be included in the damages awarded. They can also receive compensation for pain and suffering, which includes mental and emotional anguish. In extreme cases of gross negligence or a willful act that resulted in death, the family member can sue for punitive damages as well. These are designed more to punish the person who committed the act than to compensate the survivors.
Compensation in the event of a successful suit can go to several parties and to help avoid confusion and any infighting; it is best to have a will already in place that will clarify which family members are to receive payment and any estimated amount of such payment.
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Dallas Personal Injury Attorney Carlos Galliani
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