Wrongful Death in Texas Law
In Texas, there are two different types of actions that can be taken when somebody is wrongfully killed. The first is called a wrongful death action, and the second a survival action.
A wrongful death has occurred whenever a person is killed because of the negligence or liability of a person or entity. The Texas wrongful death statute provides exclusive remedy for wrongful death in the state of Texas, compensating the decedent's spouse parents and/or children for any losses sustained as a result of the death.
A survival action which is separate and distinct from a wrongful death action arises when a person is liable for damages for injury that causes an individual's death if the injury was caused by the persons wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default and where the individual injured would have been entitled to bring an action for the injury if he or she had lived.
Each year about 6,000 children die from accidental injuries. Although it is impossible to truly compensate parents or guardians for the wrongful death of a child it is sometimes possible to seek recovery from the courts for financial and emotional losses.
In a Texas wrongful death lawsuit the victims must prove that the defendant was responsible for the wrongful death, that the person filing the lawsuit is a spouse, child, or parent of the deceased, and that as a result of the death they suffered monetary losses and/or emotional harm.
The plaintiff in a wrongful death lawsuit must prove that it was the defendant's negligent or reckless conduct that led directly to the wrongful death. The methods used in establishing liability varies with each individual situation.
The plaintiff must also prove that they are entitled under law to file the wrongful death lawsuit which places strict limitations on the eligibility of those who can make a claim. Specifically, only the spouse, children, and parents of the deceased are allowed to file. Although common-law spouses and adopted children and parents are included in this group, stepparents and distant relatives such as aunts, uncles, nephews and nieces etc. are all excluded.
The final piece of the puzzle in a wrongful death lawsuit is proving damages. You must demonstrate to the court that you encountered financial and/or emotional hardships as the result of the death. This can include anything from unexpected funeral expenses to the loss of supporting income.
Texas survival statute allows the estate of the deceased victim wrongfully died to sue for injuries that the deceased could have sued for if they've survived the accident. The wrongful death and survival statutes are often used in conjunction, that is to say that the family of the deceased accident victim and typically bring suits seeking compensation under both laws.
John Q. Lawyer
Attorney at Law
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Accident-Wrongful Death 00000000