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What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Misha Personal Injury

shutterstock_646685509Wrongful death is a type of personal injury that occurs when someone is killed by another person’s negligence. These cases are often complicated because the lawsuit is filed by the estate of the deceased person against the party who is legally responsible for the death. In the event someone dies because of the fault of another person or entity, the surviving family members may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to recover damages for their loss. That being said, not everyone can file a wrongful death claim, and certain states have different laws in place regarding these types of cases.

A wrongful death is defined as a death that takes place because of a negligent, willful, or wrongful act, omission, or fault of another person. A wrongful death lawsuit allows for the loved ones of the deceased family member to seek compensation after a fatal accident. There are many different circumstances that may result in a wrongful death claim, such as a negligent or careless act, reckless driving, medical malpractice, or murder.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

 In Texas, the parents, children, and spouse of the deceased have a right to file a wrongful death claim. If a child is over the age of 18, they are still allowed to seek compensation in relation to the death of a parent. However, the siblings and grandparents of the deceased cannot file a wrongful death claim. Unlike other states, Texas does not require a specific family member to file the lawsuit. This means that any of the family members listed above can pursue a claim, or the family members can group together to file a joint claim.

Do I Have a Wrongful Death Claim? 

If you lost a loved one in an accident and are wondering if you may have a wrongful death claim on your hands, the first thing you should do is contact an experienced McKinney wrongful death attorney. Whether or not you have a wrongful death claim will depend on a host of factors, including the details surrounding the fatal accident and your relationship to the deceased.

What Are the Key Elements in a Wrongful Death Claim?

In order to pursue a wrongful death claim, there are four key elements that must be proven:

  • Negligence – The first step in moving forward with a wrongful death claim is to prove that the death of your loved one was caused by the negligent actions of another person. This can be difficult to do, which is why it’s important you have a good lawyer on your side.
  • Breach of Duty - Another component of any successful wrongful death lawsuit is proving the defendant owed a duty to the deceased individual. It is important that the plaintiff can establish what duty of care the defendant owed to the victim, such as the duty to drive safely on the roads.
  • Causation - The plaintiff must also be able to prove how, exactly, the defendant’s negligence led to the death of their loved one.
  • Damages – Finally, you must be able to show that there were quantifiable damages following the death of a loved one, such as hospitalization, medical costs, funeral and burial costs, and loss of income.

To learn more about filing a wrongful death claim in Texas, please contact Wormington & Bollinger today and schedule an appointment.