When a family member dies due to the negligence or carelessness of someone else, the surviving family members can pursue justice and compensation through a wrongful death suit.
Each wrongful death suit is different, as the facts, events and participants vary from situation to situation. There are generally five issues to address that increase the potential for a favorable outcome.
1. The right person must file
Texas law only allows a surviving child, spouse or parent of the deceased to file a suit. However, the person appointed to act as the estate representative prior to the death could also bring the suit.
2. The timing must be right
Texas has a two-year statute of limitations from the date of the cause action occurred to file a wrongful death suit. This timeline often starts with the day the death took place.
3. The evidence must exist
A family member should not delay in filing a suit, as delays could weaken the supporting evidence. Witness testimony, medical records or other information needs to be of the highest quality, and it can be harder to preserve evidence as time goes by.
4. The evidence must be adequate
All evidence must point to the death as a direct and proximate result from the action or lack of action from the named defendant. The tough nature of these cases requires a substantial amount of evidence.
5. Damages must be reasonable
The law allows for economic and non-economic damages. Civil procedures and evidentiary support factor into damage eligibility and amount.
Wrongful death suits are challenging. Substantial evidence and a strong litigator can foster a favorable legal outcome.