Who cannot be sued?
A family member cannot sue another family member for wrongful death.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
The family (also called heirs) of a deceased person can seek financial damages through a wrongful death suit for the loss of their loved one. While states have different rules for who is eligible to file wrongful death lawsuits, a decedent’s parents, spouse, children (including adopted and step-children) and siblings are the most common plaintiffs.
What types of causes of death can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit?
While any death that is caused by the negligent or reckless, unlawful conduct or another person or entity supports a cause for a wrongful death suit the most common are accidents involving automobiles and farm, construction, industrial and recreational equipment. Exposure to toxic substances and chemicals, defective products and pharmaceuticals and intentional acts of violence such as robberies, shootings, and assaults also can lead to wrongful death litigation.
Wrongful death is defined as a loss of life due to the negligence of others. Like most other civil cases, these lawsuits must be filed in court within a prescribed period of time. Courts impose deadlines called statutes of limitations on lawsuits because as time passes, critical evidence may be destroyed or misplaced and witnesses may be unavailable or have forgotten what they saw.
Wrongful death cases that are not filed before their deadline has passed will be barred from ever getting into court, so it is crucial that parties who are considering filing such a legal claim consult with a qualified wrongful death attorney as soon as possible.
Wrongful deaths are often the result of the negligence, carelessness, or reckless act of another person or corporation. Some common causes of wrongful death are car accidents, motorcycle accidents, truck accidents, bus accidents, drunk drivers, train accidents, pedestrian accidents, plane crashes, medical malpractice, construction accidents, industrial accidents, fires, and defective products (product liability).
In Texas wrongful death cases can usually be the result of these other cases:
- Personal Injury
- Medical Malpractice
- Defective Products
- Car Accident
- Slip and Fall Injury
- Catastrophic Injury
- Aviation Accident
- Nursing Home Abuse
- Brain Injury
Wrongful Death Damages
When a person is killed as a result of the negligent, reckless or unlawful actions of another person or entity, the victim’s surviving relatives can file a wrongful death civil lawsuit. seeking financial damages from the responsible party. Wrongful death damages may seek to compensate the family for medical bills, lost wages and loss of companionship (compensatory damages) or awarded in an effort to punish the offending party for their negligent or intentional acts (punitive damages).
Compensatory damages are money awarded by a judge or jury and intended to repay a victim’s family for the costs of medical care, funeral and burial and other expenses they had to incur as the direct result of the wrongful death. Most often, families of deceased parties prove their compensatory damages in court by submitted receipts for the services and products they paid for. Compensatory damages may also be awarded to compensate a deceased party’s relatives for work income the victim would have earned if they had lived. Lost income can be projected out for decades depending on the age of the victim at the time of their death. Courts have also awarded compensatory damages for the worth of an individual’s housekeeping and for child-care services. Also, a damages award might be justified on the basis of grief and loss of companionship.
These are court awarded amounts exceeding economic losses suffered by the third party, that is intended solely to punish the defendant.
Limits on Damages
Some states place limits on the amount of money in compensatory or punitive damages a jury can award to a victim’s family in a wrongful death action. International treaties limit the amount that can be recovered by relatives of people killed on airlines traveling between nations and an employee’s right to receive damages for workplace injuries may be limited by the employer’s workers’ compensation insurance.
In such cases, while the amount the worker can receive may be limited, receiving some compensation for work-related injuries is guaranteed.
- Compensation for your pain and suffering.
- Recovery of loss of earnings of the decedent.
- Compensation for your loss of companionship.
- Reimbursement for burial and funeral expenses.
- Recovery of your present and future financial losses.
- Reimbursement for your out of pocket expenses incurred.
- Reimbursement or payments of any medical expenses incurred.
If you are suffering after a loved one died because of the negligence of others, you may have a wrongful death case. Contact our Midland wrongful death attorneys at The Ammons Law Firm today for a free consultation.
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