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Wrongful Death Lawyer

Houston Wrongful Death Attorney

James Walker - Houston's Personal Injury Lawyer Losing a loved one is never easy, but it can be especially traumatic when that loss is due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing. Wrongful death cases can be complex and challenging to navigate, which is why it’s crucial to have the guidance and support of an experienced legal team. As a wrongful death lawyer in Houston, TX, Walker Texas Lawyer has helped numerous families seek justice for the accidental death of a loved one.

If you or someone you love has been involved in a fatal accident in Houston, Texas, contact Walker Texas Lawyer. He is a personal injury attorney in Houston and can help you with your case. Call (713) 552-1117 for a free consultation.

James Walker is here to help you recover from a wrongful death accident. He has over 40 years of experience holding negligent parties accountable and helping his clients secure compensation.

 

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to a death caused by another person or entity’s unlawful act or neglect. Sometimes these cases may be referred to as accidental death. Wrongful death cases can arise from various circumstances, including:

Many different types of cases result in wrongful death.  If you believe you are a victim, you must talk to a lawyer with wrongful death case experience.

Legal Requirements for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Houston, TX

Almost every state has enacted a statute permitting a wrongful death lawsuit to be brought by the relatives of a person who died due to a negligent act. These wrongful death statutes or survivor statutes‚ vary significantly from state to state.

In some states, only a spouse and children may file a lawsuit. While in other states, grandparents or other relatives may also file. The idea behind a wrongful death lawsuit is that the wrongful death, in addition to injuring the person who died, also injured people who depended upon the deceased for financial or emotional support before the wrongful death.

Texas Wrongful Death Act

The Texas Wrongful Death Act governs wrongful death claims in Texas. To file a wrongful death claim, you must meet the following legal requirements:

  • You must be the surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased
  • The death must have been caused by another entity’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default for what could be a preventable fatality.

James Walker can determine if your situation meets the legal requirements to file a wrongful death claim.

These cases are usually brought by a representative of the estate seeking monetary damages for the family’s losses.

There Are Thousands Of Accidental Deaths Each Year in Texas

Wrongful death cases have become increasingly common in Houston, TX, and across the United States. According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the number of accidental deaths in the United States rose by 5.3% in 2020, with more than 200,000 people losing their lives due to preventable accidents. In Texas, the number of traffic fatalities in 2020 increased by 8.2%, with more than 3,500 people losing their lives in car accidents.

Hiring a Houston Area Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You Get The Compensation You Deserve

Accidental Death - Hospital - Houston Attorney Every year, thousands of families in Texas grieve the untimely loss of a loved one because of an accident that probably could have been avoided. That is, an accident due to someone’s negligence caused the death of a loved family member. When that happens, the family can potentially be compensated for their tragic loss. Money won’t turn back time or bring back your loved one, but it can help you move on with your life after such a devastating event.

An experienced Houston wrongful death lawyer can communicate with insurance companies, financial institutions, and corporations in a way that non-lawyers cannot. Legal representatives are taken more seriously than non-lawyers by these entities; thus, legal representatives are in a much better position to deal with them.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another party, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact Houston wrongful death attorney James Walker at (713) 552-1117 today for a free consultation. James Walker is an experienced and aggressive Houston wrongful death lawyer who will gather all the necessary pieces, walk with you and your family through the tedious legal process, and inform you of your rights and options.

 

Damages Typically Awarded In An Accidental Death Case 

In Texas, wrongful death is a unique type of personal injury case. It differs in many ways from other types of personal injury cases. One notable difference is damages. The scope is more limited than in other personal injury cases. The compensation awarded in a wrongful death case may vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Damages sought in a wrongful death claim include:

  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of financial support and income the victim would have provided
  • Medical expenses prior to the victim’s death
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Mental and emotional suffering
  • Loss of companionship

The compensation awarded in a wrongful death claim may be determined based on the financial situation of the deceased, their earning potential, and their contributions to the household.

Punitive damages may be available in some cases but are not routinely awarded. Punitive damages are reserved for cases where the defendant’s conduct is so repugnant and shocking that monetary punishment is appropriate.

 

Legal Processes Involved in Texas Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death cases can be complex, and the legal process can be challenging to navigate. This is why you need an experienced lawyer to help in filing a wrongful death claim. To successfully litigate a wrongful death case in Houston, TX, the following legal processes must be followed:

Investigation

The first step in a wrongful death case is to investigate and gather evidence to support your claim. This may involve:

  • Collecting and analyzing medical records
  • Interviewing witnesses
  • Examining police reports and other relevant documents
  • Consulting with experts, such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals

Discovery

After the investigation, the discovery phase begins. This process involves exchanging information with the other party, including:

  • Depositions
  • Interrogatories
  • Requests to produce documents
  • Requests for admissions

Settlement Negotiations

Many wrongful death cases are settled before going to trial. Settlement negotiations involve discussions between the parties to reach a mutually agreeable resolution.

Trial

The case will proceed to trial if a settlement cannot be reached. At trial, the goal is to provide evidence that demonstrates that negligence has occurred.

 

How Do You Prove Negligence

Although there are many reasons why an individual may file a wrongful death suit, these elements must be clearly established to sue for damages:

1. Duty

In a court of law, it must be demonstrated that the responsible party was careless and failed to comply with established safety standards. This could apply to vehicle operators, property owners, physicians, workplace supervisors, and product manufacturers who weren’t following safety regulations or standards, resulting in an avoidable and lethal accident.

For example, if the defendant was carrying sharp tools and struck a child passing by, the judge will first try to decide whether the defendant owed any duty to this child. If the defendant was walking on the side of a public road and his tools were precariously held in his arms, then he would likely owe some duty to this child. But if the judge finds that the defendant was working in his backyard and that the child was trespassing on private property, then he will likely find that no duty existed between these two parties.

2. Breach of Duty

In a court of law, the plaintiff must prove that not only does the defendant owe him a duty, but that duty was breached in some way. The defendant breaches a duty by not doing something that he was supposed to do. Unlike the existence of duty, which a judge decides, the breach of duty is decided by a jury. In the above example, if you were on this jury, you would decide if the defendant had exercised proper care when carrying sharp tools.

3. Cause in Fact

To pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, it must be proven that the negligent party acted illegally or irresponsibly. The negligent action that caused the accident and resulting death need to be directly connected to pursue compensation for the surviving family.

 

How Long Do I Have To File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Texas, the statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits is two years. This means that following your loved one’s death, you have up to two years to demand compensation for their suffering and loss. The clock begins to run when your loved one dies.

Let Walker Texas Lawyer help you with your difficult accidental death claim because he understands how devastating an accident can be. He is determined to get you the compensation you deserve. James Walker is a highly awarded personal injury attorney in Houston, Texas.  He will not stop until you are provided for.

 

After A Fatal Accident, Responsible Parties Might Try To Blame The Victim

Lawyer For Wrongful Death - Funeral When there is no victim to defend themselves, it’s common for parties involved in a fatal accident to deny responsibility and point fingers at the victim. If you don’t stand up or fight back, these tactics could limit your financial recovery or prohibit you from getting any money at all.

Texas has modified comparative negligence rules, which means that an injured person can recover damages even if they’re partially responsible for an accident that caused injuries. If some degree of fault below 51 percent is shared, the victim’s damages are reduced proportionally.

When someone dies in an accident, their family may have the right to sue for damages. If your loved one was blamed for their fatal accident, it could affect your ability to recover damages or prohibit a recovery entirely.  Therefore, it is important to reach out to an experienced lawyer in wrongful death cases. The less responsibility allocated to your loved one, the more money you can potentially get at the end of the day. No amount of money can bring your loved one back, but it can help you get your life back, at least to some degree.

 

Hire An Experienced Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer

Dealing with a wrongful death can be one of the most challenging experiences in life. The loss of a loved one can leave you and your family feeling uncertain and lost. That’s why you need an experienced wrongful death lawyer to guide you through the legal process. At Walker Texas Lawyer, we have successfully handled numerous wrongful death cases in Houston and surrounding areas. James Walker is a dedicated Personal Injury lawyer who will work tirelessly to ensure you receive the compensation you deserve. Contact Walker today for a free case evaluation, and remember, there are no fees unless we win your case. Let Walker Texas Lawyer help you fight for justice and hold the responsible parties accountable.

 

Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death Cases

Q: What is the difference between a civil case and a criminal case against someone who caused a death?

A criminal case can only be brought by the government. The prosecutor makes a case against the accused person, seeking prison time or another punishment. A civil case can be filed by anyone whose private rights or civil rights have allegedly been violated by another party. When a private party files a civil lawsuit for wrongful death, the party seeks monetary damages and compensation for the loss suffered. Therefore, a civil trial for wrongful death is very different from a criminal trial for murder or manslaughter.

Q: Are all state laws the same regarding wrongful death?

No. States make their own wrongful death laws, which differ quite a bit. Sometimes, you may have a choice of state where you file a lawsuit. This is an important decision. The length each state gives you to file a wrongful death lawsuit may differ, along with the type of monetary damages the state will allow you to recover.

Q: Are punitive damages recoverable in wrongful death actions?

Punitive damages are an extra monetary penalty against the party found legally responsible in a civil lawsuit. They are usually awarded because the defendant’s behavior was reckless or malicious. Your attorney can tell you more.

Q: Can a plaintiff sue for the pain and suffering of the decedent in a wrongful death lawsuit?

While a wrongful death award compensates the survivor for losing love and companionship, a pain and suffering award normally compensates the person who experienced the pain and suffering. Some states allow pain and suffering to be included in a wrongful death lawsuit; others do not. The pain and suffering must have been due to the injuries that eventually caused death, and there must have been sufficient evidence that the person who died was conscious enough actually to experience the pain and suffering.

Q: How long do I have to file a wrongful death suit?

Unfortunately, you have limited time to file a claim for wrongful death. The two-year time frame after the date of the deceased individual’s death is known as the “statute of limitations.” If someone misses this period of time, they are banned from bringing the claim later on.

Q: When should I contact a wrongful death attorney?

Since there is a statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, it’s important that you contact a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible. The sooner you contact a lawyer and file a claim, the better your chance of preserving all evidence.

Areas We Serve

Walker Texas Lawyer is located in Houston, just off the southwest freeway near the corner of Edloe St and West Alabama St. We serve clients throughout Texas. Injured in a car, motorcycle, offshore, or industrial accident? We can help you get the compensation you deserve. The following are some areas we serve:

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