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Austin Personal Injury Blog

Monday, March 26, 2018

Damages in a Wrongful Death Case in Texas

What damages can I seek if my loved one was killed in an accident?

Losing a loved one is tragic no matter what the circumstances, but losing a family member unexpectedly in an accident renders the death truly horrific. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Americans are killed in preventable accidents. Car and truck accidents consistently rank among the top causes of accidental deaths, while other causes include falls, acts of violence, workplace accidents, and more. If your loved one has been killed in an accident in Texas that was the fault of someone else, you may be able to commence a wrongful death lawsuit.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Texas’ Wrongful Death Act holds that an action for damages can be brought when liability exists for the death of another. Liability could arise if the person that caused the death acted negligently or carelessly. The following relatives are authorized to bring a wrongful death claim in Texas: the surviving spouse, surviving children, and the living parents of the deceased. If none of the relatives commence an action within three months of the individual’s death, their executor or administrator can bring the claim.

What Damages Can I Seek in a Wrongful Death Claim?

Texas law permits the relatives of a deceased loved one who has been killed due to negligence to receive both actual and exemplary damages. Actual damages may include the following:

  • Loss of the decedent’s earning capacity

  • Loss of the decedent’s support, maintenance, and counsel

  • Mental anguish, which includes emotional pain and suffering

  • Loss of the decedent’s love and companionship

  • Loss of inheritance

Along with actual damages, you may receive exemplary or punitive damages if your loved one’s death was caused by gross negligence or a willful act. Exemplary damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and send a message to the public to avoid these dangerous behaviors.

When Must I File a Wrongful Death Action?

You will generally have two years from your family member’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It is always best that you consult with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after the accident. Crucial evidence must be gathered as soon as possible after the accident to support your later case.

If your loved one has died due to another person's negligent behavior, contact a wrongful death attorney today.


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