As wrongful death lawyers, we often hear from clients that their lives have been changed forever. Sometimes these survivors have been forced to quit or change jobs while others have had to take on additional jobs, sell their homes, and/or move in with family. This is on top of the psychological and emotional pain they’re already dealing with.
You didn’t ask for any of this to happen and you didn’t expect your life to change so dramatically. Importantly, you also do not deserve to shoulder the cost of someone else’s negligence or recklessness which caused you a permanent and irreversible loss. It is completely reasonable to seek legal help and it is well within your rights to hold accountable those responsible for the death of a loved one. You may be wondering what your legal options are and we hope we are able to answer some of your questions.
How Does A Wrongful Death Case Work?
The process of building a strong wrongful death case is complex and requires an experienced attorney with the ability to piece together the complete story of what happened. First and foremost, an independent investigation to obtain evidence about the incident will take place. This could generate additional photos, videos, e-mails, and more. This evidence will need to be analyzed by your wrongful death attorney. It is often necessary to file a civil lawsuit in order to obtain the evidence we need to prove your case during what is called the discovery process. Each case is unique and your attorney will advise you on the strategy they think is the most advantageous for your situation and your family.
A wrongful death law firm will also collect any relevant medical records and bills and hire expert witnesses to prove damages such as economic loss due to losing the earnings of your deceased loved one. Your attorney will also strategically prove up the other types of damages available in your case, including non-economic damages such as mental and physical pain and suffering, along with funeral and burial expenses. As your attorney pieces together the story that led up to the incident, they will determine who is at fault and therefore responsible. This process will also help to identify other potentially responsible parties. This will help make sure that you can obtain the maximum possible financial recovery from all responsible parties for all of the damages you and your family have suffered.
Whether or not your case will go to trial depends on numerous factors. The defendants may want to settle the case without the costs, media attention, and negative publicity that come with litigation. Other times, a lawsuit is necessary and could go on for an indefinite amount of time. Although your attorney and their staff will work to move the case forward as soon as possible, every case is unique; and, the more complex the case, the longer you can anticipate the investigation and litigation will be. Additionally, your case may or may not go to trial. Your attorney is required to discuss any settlement offers the defendant(s) present, and you may choose to refuse them and go to court. In this case, a judge or jury will decide if you should be compensated. Other times, you may choose to settle. A good wrongful death attorney will make sure you are aware of all available options and give their opinion of the likelihood of success with each.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
In Texas, the spouse, children, and parents of someone wrongfully killed due to the negligence of another party are entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. If you are a legal heir of the deceased and you are appointed as a representative of the estate by a probate court, the law allows you to file a survival lawsuit. An experienced wrongful death lawyer will be able to assess your situation and make strategic recommendations about your options.
Why Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Attorneys that work for large and small companies alike know that investigating a wrongful death case can be extremely complex. They know that wrongful death claims require a lot of time, energy, and resources. If you are trying to go up against them without an attorney, they know the average person has little chance of success; however, a top wrongful death attorney can swing the entire power imbalance in your favor. They will act as an investigator and advocate on your behalf. As an investigator, their mission will be finding out the truth of what happened, what led up to those events, and who is responsible. As your advocate, your lawyer’s goal is holding all responsible parties accountable.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
in Texas, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case runs for two years from the date of the incident. While this may seem long, it is critical that records are obtained and examined as early as possible so there is plenty of time to do the work necessary in order to file a lawsuit. The longer you delay in hiring a wrongful death attorney, the harder proving the case becomes because evidence can become more difficult to obtain or may even be destroyed. Furthermore, fully investigating the situation to ascertain who all responsible parties are that need to be named in a lawsuit is not something that should be done hastily right before the statute deadline expires.
We know this is a difficult time for you and your family, so our goal is to make the legal process as easy for you as possible. Please feel free to reach out to us with any questions you may have about the next best steps for you and your family.