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What are the legal elements of a wrongful death lawsuit?

According to Title 4, Chapter 71, of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, a party is liable for paying damages arising from an injury that causes an individual's death, provided that the injury was caused by a wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default. It is based on this statute that wrongful death lawsuits are filed in our state. To understand the law more clearly, one needs to know break down the various elements that are a part of bringing a wrongful death action.

Obviously, the first and foremost element of a wrongful death lawsuit is the death of an individual. Next, the death must have occurred either as a result of negligence on someone else's part or as a result of someone else's intent to cause harm. The next element is the survival of a family member of the deceased who is suffering emotional and financial distress as a result of the death. Last, but not the least, there has to be an appointed personal representative, a family member or someone else, of the decadent's estate.

Examples of fatal incidents for which a wrongful death action can be brought include, but are not limited to, acts of medical malpractice that leads to death; a fatal motor vehicle accident where the other driver was at fault; a fatal workplace accident resulting from inadequate safety; criminal behavior on someone else's part that leads to the victim's death; and death that occurred during a supervised activity.

People who wish to file a wrongful death claim often see that despite these elements being present in their case, they have to run from pillar to post while they are pursuing the claim. Therefore, to steer clear of the various pitfalls and setbacks associated with bringing a legal action, it may be a wise decision on the part of the plaintiffs if they choose to seek professional help to guide them through the entire process.

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