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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Does Texas Limit Damages for Wrongful Death Claims?

In the vast expanse of Texas law, a matter that strikes close to home for countless families is wrongful death claims. When it comes to seeking justice for the loss of a loved one, understanding the ins and outs of Texas wrongful death claims is crucial.

This is a legal action surviving family members take when their loved one's death is due to another party's negligence or wrongful act.

These cases often happen due to tragic incidents like car accidents, medical malpractice, or any situation where someone's misconduct led to a fatality.

A key question many ask is, "Does Texas limit damages for wrongful death claims?" In some states, there are indeed caps on the amount that can be awarded in these cases. However, the Lone Star State has a unique stance.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

These legal actions help victims seek justice for the untimely loss of a loved one. In Texas, the law determines who can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Surviving Family Members and Children

Immediate blood relatives like parents, children, and partners can file wrongful death cases. The court considers this category the most affected by the loss, acknowledging their right to seek compensation.

Adoptive parents and children have the same legal standing as their biological counterparts in a wrongful death case. Texas law does not discriminate against illegitimate children either.

Personal Representatives of the Deceased

Beyond family members, Texas law also allows the deceased person's estate representative to file a wrongful death or personal injury lawsuit.

The representative acts on behalf of the victim. They also must distribute the compensation to the beneficiaries as per the law.

Heirs are the surviving family members with a legal interest in the outcome of the wrongful death case. This may include spouses, children, and parents (as mentioned above).

If no direct bloodline is alive, other legal heirs (siblings, grandparents, uncles, and aunts) may be eligible as beneficiaries.

The Different Types of Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Texas law differentiates between economic and non-economic damages in wrongful death cases.

Economic Damages

Also called special damages, economic damages refer to quantifiable losses, such as medical and funeral expenses and lost future income. These losses have no statutory limits, meaning the case's specific circumstances determine them.

Non-economic Damages

On the other hand, such damages reimburse plaintiffs for intangible losses, like pain, suffering, and loss of companionship.

In Texas, the court caps non-economic damages at varying limits, depending on factors like the number of beneficiaries and the nature of the wrongful act.

Punitive Damages

These damages compensate the family and punish the defendant for gross negligence or intentional misconduct.

This means that if a wrongful death lawsuit is successful, the punitive damages can be substantial, sending a strong message to those who acted wrongfully.

Survival Claims

These are unique aspects of wrongful death lawsuits. They allow the deceased person's estate to recover damages for the pain and suffering endured before death.

In many cases, plaintiffs can recover the legal costs of a wrongful death and survival claim through compensatory damages.

The Statute of Limitations in a Wrongful Death Case

In the context of wrongful death cases, failing to file a claim within a prescribed period can result in the loss of the right to seek compensation. The statute of limitations in Texas is two years from a loved one's death.

Therefore, family members must file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit within this window to recover maximum reimbursement. This time limit begins from the date of death and is generally a strict deadline.

Some exceptions may apply to the statute of limitations. Texas law extends the time limit if a wrongful act leading to the death is not immediately evident.

In this event, the clock will start to tick from the date medical practitioners and legal experts discovered the wrongful act. Also, regarding medical malpractice cases, the state has a "statute of repose."

This places a maximum limit of 10 years on filing a Texas wrongful death claim from the date of the alleged medical malpractice, regardless of when the victim and medical professionals discover it.

Given the emotional and complex nature of wrongful death suits, family members should seek legal counsel promptly after losing their loved one.

Why Should Plaintiffs Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney?

Many plaintiffs grapple with whether to hire a wrongful death attorney when facing the complex and emotionally taxing process of a wrongful death case. Understanding the compelling reasons to seek legal representation in these cases is crucial.

Legal Expertise

Wrongful death cases involve confusing processes and nuances. A qualified attorney has the legal knowledge and expertise to navigate these complexities effectively. They understand the specific laws, regulations, and precedents relevant to such cases.

Thorough Investigation

A skilled attorney will thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the wrongful death. They have the resources to gather proof, interview third-party witnesses, and consult with experts if necessary. This diligent fact-finding is essential in building a strong case. They can help with questions such as How long do you have to file wrongful death in Texas?

Calculating Damages

Determining the full extent of damages in a wrongful death case can be challenging. A lawyer can evaluate special and general damages, including medical expenses, lost income, physical and emotional suffering, and loss of companionship. They ensure all eligible punitive damages are accounted for in a wrongful death settlement.

Victims Are Entitled to Recover Full Compensation for Economic Damages

Victims Are Entitled to Recover Full Compensation for Economic Damages

Not many know the one fundamental principle that holds true in wrongful death lawsuits. Victims are actually legally entitled to receive full reimbursement for economic damages.

These encompass quantifiable financial losses the surviving family members suffer due to the wrongful death. Texas law may cap non-economic wrongful death damages, but not these. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can also answer questions like How Are Wrongful Death Proceeds Divided in Texas?

Final Words

Special, quantifiable damages in a wrongful death settlement do not have statutory caps in Texas. This means the compensation is based on the specific circumstances of the case and the financial losses incurred.

Such damages strive to provide stability to survivors. It allows them to move forward while holding the at-fault parties responsible for their actions.

In Texas, wrongful death beneficiaries are the immediate bloodline of the victim. A personal estate must honestly distribute the final settlement between the heirs.

A qualified lawyer can help plaintiffs understand everything there is to know about such cases. Stating, "We Go to War for You," the Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can fight for their client's rights.


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