No amount of money can replace a loved one, but it can ease the burden of an expensive funeral, a loss of wages and other financial pressures that stack up after a wrongful death. Under Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, wrongful death claims can be filed if the death of a loved one is caused by the negligence or carelessness of another person or corporation.
If you have lost a loved one and want to pursue a potential wrongful death claim, it’s important you understand the process of submitting a claim. While each case will vary, there are usually four elements involved in a wrongful death lawsuit:
According to Texas law, a wrongful death is one caused by a party’s neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or wrongful act. A party can consist of a single individual, a company or even a government entity; the latter may be liable if a driver is killed by improperly marked roadway construction.
2. Breach of Duty
The plaintiff must demonstrate that there was a breach of duty, meaning the party owed a duty of care to the victim but failed to uphold it. A person that disobeys traffic laws, by speeding or driving recklessly, is breaching their duty.
While breach of duty proves general misconduct, the plaintiff must also prove how the defendant’s negligence led directly to the death of the victim. If you’re trying to demonstrate that the defendant was not paying attention to the road while driving, it may prove difficult, making the collection of evidence crucial.
Finally, the death of the victim must lead to any number of damages, including:
- Pecuniary Loss: The loss of care, maintenance, support, services and other reasonable contributions of a pecuniary value that the plaintiff (excluding inheritance) would have received from the victim were they still alive.
- Loss of Companionship and Society: The loss of positive benefits from the love, comfort and companionship the plaintiff would have received from the victim were they still alive.
- Mental Anguish: Emotional pain, torment and suffering experienced by the plaintiff because of the wrongful death.
- Loss of Inheritance: The loss of the current value of assets the deceased would have added to their estate and left for the plaintiff after a natural death.
Get Help Now
A wrongful death lawsuit requires an experienced attorney to improve the chances of receiving a settlement at trial. Our Dallas wrongful death attorneys at Deans & Lyons, LLP can provide supportive legal counsel and strong representation to hold negligible parties accountable.
Give us a call at (844) 297-8898 or contact us online if you have any questions.