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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

How to File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death in Texas - Schuerger Shunnarah  

People tend to confuse wrongful death claims because think they are similar to homicide criminal charges. That couldn't be further from reality. When a loved one dies, criminal charges help people seek justice while a lawsuit gives them financial compensation for what happened. 

The problem with this is that since the victim of the accident died, the person filing the claim is often a relative. Hence, compensation money is for the surviving family members. 

People opening a wrongful death case are already dealing with the fact that their loved one died. They shouldn't need to worry about paying for burial expenses or other issues just because of the negligence of another person.

Here, people will learn how to file wrongful death claims successfully to get as much compensation as they can for the accident. People looking for a lawyer who can help them throughout this process should contact Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys. 

This company is experienced in personal injury claims, which include wrongful death lawsuits. Whether it's through negotiation or trial, this law firm will always fight to give their representees the compensation they need. People only need to call it to schedule a free consultation and if looking for more information on how to file a lawsuit for a dog bite in Texas

Understanding Wrongful Death 

Understanding Wrongful Death 

As mentioned before, the concept of wrongful death is different from regular criminal charges such as homicide. In a nutshell, it's the death of someone because of the wrongful act, negligence, or neglect of a third party. 

The first thing to understand about this concept is that it doesn't necessarily have to happen on purpose. Since wrongful death lawsuits are civil matters, they often address the case as an accident. 

Only certain individuals can file a wrongful death lawsuit representing the victim. The spouses of the deceased, their parents, children, and the representative of the deceased person's estate are among those individuals. 

Other family members could pursue wrongful death damages in case the mentioned before aren't there to do it. However, the surviving spouse is often the one who takes care of the job.

These are a few of the situations where people can file a Texas wrongful death claim: 

- Car accidents 
- Medical malpractice 
- Exposure to toxic chemicals or toxins 
- Nursing home neglect 

When the eligible family members of the deceased file a wrongful death suit, they not only need to prove their loved one died but also that they died because of the negligence of the defendant. Besides that, they need to prove why they need the money they are asking for in the claim. 

The Texas wrongful death statute of limitations is two years from the date of the death of the deceased person. That's often enough time to gather enough evidence for the case, but surviving family members should still file the suit as soon as they can. 

It's worth noting that Texas wrongful death laws apply to all cities in the state. That means Dallas and Houston wrongful death attorneys, for example, need to follow the same rules when filing a claim.

What Is Compensation for in a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit? 

Unlike what happens in other personal injury cases, the deceased person won't need money for lost wages or medical treatment. What's compensation for in a wrongful death lawsuit, then? 

Well, first, people need to cover funeral and burial expenses shortly after their loved one's death. Apart from that, even if the patient died, their family still needs to cover hospital bills. Those things alone are highly expensive, but there's more to it. 

When someone opens a wrongful death case, they can also ask for money for the loss of inheritance or financial support. This, of course, in cases where the deceased was the financial head of the family. Loss of household services can also fit among the damages of a wrongful death lawsuit. 

All the things mentioned before are economic damages with a price. However, every wrongful death case has room for non-economic considerations. For more information, a wrongful death attorney in Dallas may be able to help.

What Makes Wrongful Death Claims Different from Criminal Charges?

It's important to understand that filing a wrongful death claim is not the same as pressing criminal charges. Although both situations include the death of a person, they are different in many instances of the legal process.

The first difference between filing a wrongful death claim and pressing homicide charges is the purpose of the legal action. Wrongful death suits aim to give the victim financial compensation for burial and medical expenses, while criminal matters punish people for violating Texas law and compromising public safety.

Basically, criminal charges punish people for committing a crime while lawsuits hold them responsible for causing financial losses. The burden of proof works differently in civil cases too. 

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the preponderance of evidence decides which party wins the case. This concept means that they only need to prove something is more likely to happen instead. Hence, they don't need to prove that a wrongful death occurred beyond a reasonable doubt.

Lastly, the parties involved and the outcome of both processes are different. In criminal cases, the government prosecutes the defendant, and civil ones start with a wrongful death claim. The former ends with imprisonment and other punishments, while the latter with financial compensation. 

Since criminal charges and suits operate under different legal systems, people can pursue a criminal case and a wrongful death lawsuit for the same cause. These proceedings are separate and independent, and the outcome of one doesn't necessarily affect the other. 

In a car accident where a drunk driver crashes into another car and kills a person, the surviving spouse could file a wrongful death claim for gross negligence against them. However, the state could simultaneously press criminal charges for DUI. 

How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit 

How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit 

Now that the reader fully understands how a wrongful death lawsuit works, they need to learn how to file it. The process to submit the complaint is just a step of it, but there are many other things to do in between. 

Here is what people looking forward to filing a wrongful death lawsuit should do: 

Contact an Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney 

Hiring a good wrongful death lawyer is fundamental to winning the case. The other party will most likely try to do the same, so the process won't be as easy as submitting the claim. 

Victims need a wrongful death attorney experienced in these cases. They will know where to find evidence and which legal strategy may work better for the situation. They can also help with how to file a lawsuit for workers compensation in Texas.

However, it's also important to find a wrongful death attorney passionate in court. Lawyers are often aggressive, and victims won't win the case with someone who is easily intimidated. 

Gather Evidence 

The family members of the victim, with help from their lawyer, need to gather evidence before filing a wrongful death lawsuit. That evidence is what determines if they can recover compensation and how much money they can ask for in the claim. 

What do they need to prove? Mainly that the victim died because of the wrongful death action of the person they are suing. Besides that, they should also show why they need the money they are asking for. Hence, burial receipts and hospital bills could serve as evidence in a personal injury case. 

Witness statements, medical records, pictures, and videos are also common evidence in survival claims. Since they have two years to find enough evidence for the case, the plaintiff should mainly focus on that from the very beginning. 

File a Wrongful Death Demand Letter

Once the plaintiff has enough evidence, they can send a wrongful death suit to a local circuit court. After the court gets the demand letter, it will send it to the defendant to let them know they are being sued. 

Negotiate with the Other Party 

Before going to trial, all the parties in a wrongful death claim can resolve the case through mediation. Why would they do it? Because it ensures the plaintiff gets part of what they are asking for.

Negotiating is not mandatory, though. If the plaintiff feels safe with the case they built and want to go straight to trial, they can do it. Some people try to negotiate because trials are often long and overwhelming.

Go to Trial 

If the parties in a wrongful death lawsuit fail to get to a fair settlement through mediation, they will go to trial. There, a judge will study the evidence the plaintiff and the prosecution collected and make a decision based on what both parties do throughout the process. 

The judge can choose to give the plaintiff what they asked for in their initial wrongful death claim or a part of the benefits. Everything depends on what happens in the trial. 

Appeal the Decision 

If any of the parties don't agree with the settlement the judge determined, they can appeal the decision with a higher court. In these cases, the court of appeals studies the verdict and states if there should be any changes.

Final Thoughts - File a Wrongful Death Claim with the Help of Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys

People who file a wrongful death lawsuit know they won't get their loved one back. However, it's a good way of getting justice while covering most of the expenses the death of that person brings to the table. 

If the spouse, children, or parents of a deceased person want to file a wrongful death claim in Texas, they need a good lawyer to back them up. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys is one of the best options on the market. 

Victims of personal injury accidents can call it to schedule a free consultation and start to build a case strategy. 


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