What Must Be Proven in Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

dallas wrongful deathWrongful death is one of the most devastating events that could happen to someone. It can happen to anyone. Wrongful death occurs when an accident victim dies because of the negligence of another party.  The most common accidents that result in wrongful death include accidents with semi-trucks or delivery trucks, drunk driving accidents, car accidents, hit and run accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, accidents that happen on a construction site, motorcycle accidents, hospital or nursing home negligence, and medical malpractice.

There are times when a survivor of the victim may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. What must be proven in Texas wrongful death lawsuits in order for the survivor to win?

The Right Person Must File the Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Texas has a wrongful death statute that sets the criteria related to these lawsuits. There are only certain individuals who may file a wrongful death lawsuit. The plaintiff must meet one of the qualifications:

  1. Be a surviving spouse.
  2. Be a surviving child (minor or adult).
  3. Be a surviving parent.
  4. Be a legally adopted child of the victim who died.
  5. Be a surviving adoptive parent of the victim who died.
  6. Be the personal representative for the estate.

Must Be Filed Within Two Years of the Date of Death

Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years of the date of death. Past that time period, the statute of limitations runs out. If it does, you may not be able to bring the lawsuit unless you meet one of the following exceptions:

  1. The plaintiff filing the wrongful death lawsuit is or was a minor child.
  2. The negligence of the named defendant wasn’t made known during that two-year period of time.
  3. The plaintiff had a mental or physical issue that prevented them from filing the lawsuit before the end of the statute of limitations.
  4. The occurrence of fraudulent behavior prevented the plaintiff from filing the lawsuit within the statute of limitations.

Texas Wrongful Death Involves Negligence

To prove wrongful death, the plaintiff must establish that the defendant’s negligence caused the death to occur. A Texas wrongful death lawyer helps the plaintiff prove:

  1. The defendant owed a legal duty to the deceased: For example, all drivers have a legal duty to not be over the legal limit of intoxication when they are driving.
  2. The defendant breached the legal duty: For example, the defendant was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they got behind the wheel.
  3. The defendant’s breach of duty caused an actual injury: This could include broken bones, internal injuries, traumatic brain injury, property damage, and death. This is often proven by the “but-for” test. But-for the defendant getting behind the wheel while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, the accident wouldn’t have occurred, the deceased wouldn’t have sustained the injuries, and the deceased wouldn’t have passed away.
  4. There must be monetary damage that occurred because of the death: This can be any number of things. It can be hospital bills, surgeries, loss of work, loss of income, loss of future income, and other monetary losses.

In certain instances, the plaintiff may also qualify to receive financial compensation for loss of companionship and other mental anguish they’ve experienced as a result of the death.

Navigating Texas Wrongful Death Claims Takes Experience and Skill

Although Texas wrongful death cases are civil claims, that doesn’t make them easy. To help plaintiffs receive the compensation they deserve for their loss, you need an experienced and skilled wrongful death lawyer. These sorts of cases can get extremely complicated and are emotionally draining for the plaintiff. The Law Office of Julie Johnson has spent the last 25 years helping wrongful death families get the justice and compensation they deserve for their losses. If you believe that you have a valid wrongful death claim, call us now at 214-290-8001. We’re available 24/7 and your first consultation is free. We’re happy to talk with you and help you learn whether you have a wrongful death claim. If you do, we want to help you protect your legal rights.

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