When a loved one dies, the lives of the deceased's survivors can be forever changed. Not only is there the emotional loss to contend with, but there are typically financial losses as well. These losses may be especially acute when the loved one's death was caused by the negligence of another party. When that happens, it may be possible to pursue a wrongful death claim. However, it is important to understand who has standing to commence such an action.
When surviving family members have lost a loved one in a fatal accident, they may be left with many questions and face unexpected emotional and financial damages. Wrongful death actions may be able to provide some help to surviving family members coping with the unexpected, and wrongful, loss of a loved one in a fatal accident.
When someone files a wrongful death lawsuit over the death of a family member, the damages awarded by the court are based on certain criteria. These criteria include loss of support that the survivors received from the deceased family member, loss of prospective inheritance and expenses incurred for medical treatment prior to death, as well as the costs associated with conducting a burial. In the words of the court of law, the compensation awarded for these losses are known as pecuniary damages.
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.
A death in the family is always difficult to come to terms with. In fact, it is more difficult when the person killed is young and has the rest of their life in front of them. The reality gets harder to accept when that death is due to the negligence of someone else. A recent fatal car accident is an example of one such unexpected loss.
Texas and federal laws provide that those who cause harm to others through their own negligence should be held liable for the damages they caused. Therefore, a person seeking compensation in a personal injury lawsuit typically must prove the other party caused the accident through negligence.