Compassionate Legal Counsel When Your Loved One Has Died in an Accident
In the wake of the accidental or wrongful death of a loved one, you can easily feel paralyzed by emotion. You can’t bring them back, but it only seems fair that the wrongdoer be held accountable. You may have relied on your loved one for financial or emotional support, or you may have unpaid medical bills for care they received before their death. You want an experienced, compassionate and results-oriented lawyer to protect your rights. You want the attorneys at Bailey & Galyen.
At Bailey & Galyen, we have more than 40 years of experience effectively representing people in personal injury litigation, including individuals and families who have lost a loved one as the result of a wrongful or accidental death. Over the past four decades, we have recovered hundreds of millions of dollars in judgments and settlements in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. We understand that the keys to a successful outcome are hard work, dedication and a commitment to listen. We’ll take the time to learn the details of your situation, as well as your goals, so that we can tailor our representation to get the outcome you want. We’ll keep you fully involved and informed, updating you on any developments in your case, so that you can make good decisions about how you want to move forward. We are committed to being available and accessible whenever you have questions or concerns.
We offer a free initial consultation in all wrongful death claims. To set up a meeting with a compassionate and detail-oriented Fort Worth wrongful death attorney, contact Bailey & Galyen online or call our offices at 844-402-2992.
How Does Texas Define Wrongful Death?
In Texas, a death is considered to be “wrongful” when it results from the carelessness, negligence or legal misconduct of another person. Though you can always file a wrongful death claim based on another person’s intentional acts, the vast majority of wrongful death lawsuits allege negligence. To succeed with such a claim, you must prove to the jury that the party who caused the death was not acting as a reasonable person would under the circumstances.
Wrongful death is typically governed by state law and will customarily vary somewhat from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. In Texas, a death is considered wrongful if it was caused by “[a] wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default.” Furthermore, the Texas wrongful death laws apply to fetuses, as well as persons already born.
How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Differ from Other Types of Personal Injury Lawsuits?
In Texas, a wrongful death action looks almost exactly like any other personal injury claim. The only difference is that the victim has died and cannot bring the lawsuit personally. Typically, the civil lawsuit is filed either by surviving family members or by the estate of the deceased. However, under Texas law, if a surviving spouse, child or parent of the decedent does not file a wrongful death claim within three months of the date of death, the executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate has the right to do so, unless all family members expressly indicate that they do not want that done.
It’s also important to understand that a wrongful death lawsuit is not the same thing as a criminal prosecution related to a death. The potential penalties for a criminal prosecution include incarceration and even capital punishment, and may involve restitution, whereas a wrongful death lawsuit seeks damages, or monetary compensation for the losses caused by the wrongful death.
What Are the Common Types and Causes of Wrongful Death in Fort Worth?
Virtually any type of personal injury can lead to death. For that reason, wrongful death actions may be based on a wide range of factual circumstances, including:
- Motor vehicle accidents—Collisions involving cars, trucks, motorcycles and mass transit vehicles
- Slips, trips and falls—Tumbles on wet or slippery floors or surfaces, broken stairs or sidewalks, defective or damaged carpet, linoleum or other flooring
- Injuries on a construction site, such as falls from heights, falling objects, work-related motor vehicle accidents, exposure to toxic substances, and the malfunction of or exposure to dangerous or defective tools, machinery
- Other workplace injuries, such as explosions, slips and falls, motor vehicle accidents and large equipment or machinery accidents
- Dangerous or defective products, such as appliances, motor vehicles or parts, toys, clothing, tools, sporting equipment and other products
Though wrongful death claims are typically based on allegations of carelessness or negligence, surviving family members may also seek damages for wrongful deaths intentionally committed, including fatalities arising out of physical assault.
Who Has the Legal Right to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Fort Worth?
Texas law grants standing in a wrongful death action to the spouse, child or parent of the deceased. The executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate may also seek compensation for the death of a loved one, but only if the spouse, children and parents fail to file a complaint within 90 days of death.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
The statute of limitation on wrongful death is two years from the date of death.
Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit the Same Thing as a Survival Action?
No. In Texas, a wrongful death lawsuit is a different proceeding than a “survivor action.” Under the Texas Survival Statute, the heirs, legal representative or estate of a deceased person have legal standing to file a personal injury claim on behalf of the decedent, as if he or she were still alive. In a survival action, the plaintiffs may recover:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Any unreimbursed medical expenses incurred because of the accident, but before death
- Any property damage resulting from the accident
- Lost wages or income caused by the injuries before death
Will Insurance Provide Any Benefits after a Fort Worth Wrongful Death?
Yes. The purpose of a life insurance policy is to provide death benefits after the accidental or wrongful death of a policyholder.
What Kinds of Damages Can You Recover in a Fort Worth Wrongful Death Claim?
In Texas, the following damages may typically be recovered by survivors after an accidental or wrongful death:
- Compensation for the loss of financial support that the decedent would have provided
- Payment of all funeral and burial expenses
- A monetary award for the loss of care, support, services, advice and counsel that the decedent would have provided
- Compensation for any mental pain, anguish or other suffering of surviving family members
- Any lost inheritance, including amounts the decedent would likely have saved, had he or she survived
- Compensation for the loss of love, comfort, companionship, consortium and society of the decedent
Trust Our Skilled Wrongful Death Attorneys | Contact Us for a Free Consultation
At the law offices of Bailey and Galyen, with offices throughout Texas, we are dedicated to ensuring your total satisfaction with our services. You can call us at 1-844-402-2992 anytime, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Appointments can also be scheduled online. We are happy to meet with you evenings or weekends, if necessary, and can travel for an appointment, upon request.
We handle all wrongful death lawsuits on a contingency basis. We will only charge attorney fees if we recover compensation for the death of your loved one.