McAllen Wrongful Death Lawyer
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas
Accidents happen every day; the most tragic of these accidents are those that result in the death of another person. Knowing that your loved one’s death could have and should have been prevented can make the grieving process that much more difficult.
Texas personal injury law allows certain surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim against the liable person or party. In other words, surviving family members can fight to hold the at-fault party accountable and recover the financial resources they need to manage unexpected expenses associated with their loss.
At Tijerina Legal Group, P.C., we provide compassionate, personalized legal representation for individuals and families who have experienced the most tragic loss one can suffer. Our McAllen wrongful death attorney, Humberto Tijerina, understands just how difficult your situation is, and he is ready to provide the dedicated legal support you need.
On This Page:
- What's the Difference Between Wrongful Death Claims & Survival Actions?
- What Damages Can You Receive for Wrongful Death?
- How Much Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement?
- How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
- Common Causes of Wrongful Death
- Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
- Texas' Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
- How Do You Choose a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
- How We Can Help
When a person dies due to the negligent or unlawful acts or omissions of another person or party, Texas law defines this as a “wrongful death.” Surviving family members and/or the personal representative of the deceased’s estate are allowed to file two separate types of civil actions after the wrongful death of a loved one: a wrongful death claim and a survival action.
There are several key differences between wrongful death claims and survival actions. Generally speaking, a wrongful death claim seeks compensation for the surviving family members for their losses. A survival action, on the other hand, seeks recovery on behalf of the deceased. Essentially, a survival action asserts that the at-fault party should not avoid being held responsible for the harm they caused to the deceased simply because he or she died.
In most cases, wrongful death claims and survival actions are filed together, though there are some circumstances in which they may be filed separately. It’s also important to note that both civil actions are entirely separate and distinct from any criminal actions that may or may not be brought against the defendant. Even if the person who caused the death is not charged with a crime relating to the death, you can still potentially file a wrongful death claim/survival action.
It’s important to distinguish between wrongful death claims and survival actions, as each type of civil action offers the potential to recover different sets of damages.
In a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff seeks compensation for their own damages. These might include:
- Loss of love, companionship, support, and guidance
- Lost income, benefits, and earning capacity
- The value of household, childcare, and other similar services provided by the deceased
- Loss of reasonably expected inheritance
In contrast, a survival action seeks compensation for damages experienced by the deceased prior to death, as well as those sustained by the estate. These might include:
- Medical expenses incurred as a result of the deceased’s final treatment/care
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to death
- Reasonable funeral and/or burial expenses
Additionally, in some cases, a wrongful death claim or survival action may seek punitive damages when the conduct of the defendant displayed egregious negligence or disregard for human life. Examples could include a drunk driver who caused a fatal accident or an individual who committed assault and battery, leading to death.
Every wrongful death case is unique, and therefore no settlement will be exactly the same. However, because wrongful death claims deal with the loss of life, settlements tend to be much higher than a typical personal injury claim. In general, a wrongful death case may settle for anywhere from $500,000 to several million. However, Texas does place certain damage caps that limit the amount you may recover for certain types of damages including pain and suffering and punitive damages.
In order to prove a wrongful death case you will need to demonstrate the following:
- That the defendant (the person responsible for your loved one's death) owed a duty of care to your loved one
- That the defendant failed to uphold that duty of care
- That your loved one's death was caused by the defendant's breach of that duty
Sadly, wrongful death can occur in any number of environments from car accidents to workplaces. Some of the most common causes of wrongful death include:
- Motor vehicle accidents (car, truck, motorcycle, etc.)
- Medical malpractice
- Workplace accidents (particularly factories, construction, etc.)
- Accidents involving defective products
The state of Texas outlines who may bring a wrongful death claim or lawsuit against an at-fault party.
These individuals include the deceased’s surviving:
- Spouse or domestic partner
- Child, including adult or adopted child
- Parent(s), including adopted parent(s)
Additionally, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file the claim on behalf of the estate with compensation being allocated to surviving family members.
According to Texas law (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003), wrongful death claims may be filed no later than 2 years after the individual's death. If you wait too long to file your lawsuit, the court will have grounds to dismiss your case without hearing it. So what does this mean for you? It means that you should reach out to an attorney as soon as possible following your loved one's death in order to ensure that your lawsuit is filed within the allotted statute of limitations.
Wrongful death claims are particularly sensitive cases because they are dealing with the tragic loss of a loved one. It's important that you know what to look for when hiring a wrongful death attorney so that you can protect both your family and your future. For the best outcome, we suggest looking for an attorney with the following qualities:
- A record of success - The best way to determine if a lawyer is successful is to read their past case results, reviews, and testimonials from former clients.
- Experience with taking wrongful death claims to court - Not every case is able to be settled outside of court, especially when it comes to high-stakes claims like wrongful death. You deserve an attorney who can fight for your rights both in the courtroom and outside of it.
- Compassion - This is a difficult time for you and your family, the last thing you need is an attorney who treats you like a case number and refuses to work closely with you or passes your case off to an associate.
- The ability to listen - Your story is important to us. We understand that you are probably having a hard time processing what is happening and that you may just need someone to listen to how these events have affected you and your family. Attorney Tijerina is ready to listen.
At Tijerina Legal Group, P.C., we know that you are navigating one of the most difficult and trying times in your life. You should not have to also deal with the legal complexities involved in filing a wrongful death claim—but you do deserve justice and fair compensation for the losses you have endured.
Our wrongful death lawyer in McAllen is ready to fight for you and your family. We can handle all of the legal aspects of your situation so that you can focus on healing and spending time with your loved ones. When you trust your case to Tijerina Legal Group, P.C., you can rest assured that you are in good hands. We believe in building strong relationships with our clients based on compassion, communication, and trust.
We are available around the clock to answer your questions and provide the personalized guidance you need. And because we offer contingency fees, you do not owe any upfront or out-of-pocket expenses when you choose to work with our legal team. Instead, we only collect attorney’s fees if and when we win your case—that’s our T No-Fee Guarantee.