Filing a Houston Wrongful Death Action

The untimely death of a loved one can lead to tremendous financial difficulties for their family members. In addition to dealing with the loss of income, you may be struggling with medical bills, funeral expenses, and more. Filing a Houston wrongful death action can help you recover those expenses. While a financial recovery cannot undo a loved one’s death, it can help prevent the financial devastation that often accompanies these scenarios.

When a loved one dies as the result of someone else’s negligence, the loss can feel even more significant. State law provides two ways to recover financially from people whose negligence contributed to a loved one’s death—wrongful death action and survival actions. You may be able to bring one or both types of actions, depending on the circumstances of the event and your relationship to the deceased.

What Is a Houston Wrongful Death Action?

Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies § 71.002, surviving family members have a cause of action for actual damages arising from an individual’s death. They can bring a lawsuit as long as the injury was the result of someone’s wrongful act, default, neglect, carelessness, or unskillfulness. The wrongdoer does not have to act personally—they are still liable even if an agent acts on their behalf.

To establish a claim, the surviving family member must demonstrate that a defendant’s negligence caused or contributed to the deceased’s death. The surviving family members who can file a wrongful death action in Houston include the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased person. They can file together or separately. If they choose not to pursue a claim within three months of the death, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can bring a suit instead. However, the deceased must have left a will, not died intestate. Additionally, the representative cannot bring the suit if any of the survivors object to it.

Establishing Losses in a Wrongful Death Action

The survivors also have to establish that they suffered a loss because of the death. The most straightforward loss to prove is a financial loss. If the person who passed away was one of the family’s breadwinners, then their death causes financial loss for the family. Other financial losses include funeral and burial expenses and the medical expenses the deceased incurred before their passing.

Financial losses are not the only damages recoverable in a wrongful death suit. In addition to lost wages and loss of earning capacity, survivors can seek damages for loss of companionship and the value of the support, service, and guidance the deceased would have provided.

Not every survivor wants to file a wrongful death claim. However, in addition to providing a financial cushion for the family, a claim can also provide the peace of mind that someone is being held accountable for their negligent actions. A Houston wrongful death attorney can explain the pros and cons of filing an action.

Houston Survival Actions Differ From Wrongful Death Suits

In addition to wrongful death suits, Texas provides a method for people to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. The heirs or personal representatives can bring a lawsuit for the harm experienced by the deceased rather than the harm to the family.

Survival actions allow the estate, heirs, or surviving family members to collect damages that are unavailable in wrongful death lawsuits. These damages include things like the deceased’s pain and suffering, their lost wages during their lifetime, and their lost earning capacity if there was time between the accident and the death. While the whole family may experience those damages, they are damages specific to the deceased.

In some instances, only one of those claims will be available. If the circumstances of the injury and death support both types of claims, a Houston attorney may recommend filing a wrongful death action and a survival action at the same time.

Learn More About Filing a Wrongful Death Action in Houston

Filing a Houston wrongful death action is one potential way to get justice for a deceased loved one. However, it is not the only way. To explore all of your potential remedies, you should consult with the team at Lone Star Injury Attorneys. We can help you understand your options. Schedule a consultation to learn more.

Lone Star Injury Attorneys, PLLC

Lone Star Injury Attorneys, PLLC N/a
Suite 300 , 3033 Chimney Rock
TX 77056
Map & Directions
(832) 979-2329