When Someone is Killed Due to the Negligence or Actions of Another, the Family May be Allowed to Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim or Lawsuit
- Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
- Intentions of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
- Texas Wrongful Death Laws
Types of Accidents
- Fatal Automobile Accidents
- Fatal Truck Accidents
- Fatal Drunk Driving Accidents
- Fatal Workplace Accidents
Losing a loved one is the hardest experience that most people will ever endure. This is especially troubling when you know that someone else is to blame. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or fault of another driver, an employer, a bar, a product manufacturer, a truck driver, or any other liable party, the Dallas wrongful death lawyers at Grossman Law Offices can help you bring them to justice.
Covered in This Article
- The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit
- When is a death considered a wrongful death?
- Common causes of wrongful deaths
- “How do I know if my loved ones death was a wrongful death?”
Wrongful death cases are highly technical cases, and are based on complex legal statutes with many areas of overlap. As such, a wrongful death case is most certainly a matter that requires an experienced wrongful death attorney to have any real chance of success.
A Texas Wrongful Death Case Generally Develops in This Manner:
A person dies due to the negligence of another (be it a person or a company).
The family of the victim procures the services of an experienced law firm, such as Grossman Law Offices.
The family’s attorney conducts an independent investigation to identify all responsible parties, and/or determine the specific cause of death.
Upon completion of the investigation, claims are filed against ALL responsible entities.
Grossman Law Offices works diligently to build a strong case including, but not limited to, preparing witness statements, acquiring expert witnesses and liability expert accounts, acquiring financial expert testimony, deposing defendants and their agents, etc.
Grossman Law Offices goes head to head with the responsible parties and their attorneys.
The case is either settled out of court or a verdict is reached in a trial by jury.
As a result of the case, the responsible parties are forced to compensate the family of the victim and/ or they are forced to modify their conduct to ensure that NO ONE ELSE suffers the same fate.
With so much at stake in such a complex area of law, it is easy to see why so many families rely on the experience of Grossman Law Offices’ team of Dallas wrongful death lawyers to help them achieve a legal victory.
What is the Purpose of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to hold the guilty parties responsible, under the setting of civil law. In most cases the guilty party is forced to compensate the victim’s family for their loss. An additional goal in every wrongful death case that we handle is to force the guilty party to change their ways so that no one else has to suffer in the same way.
In our experience, most family members want to know that their loved one did not die in vain. Our firm fights not only to make sure that the guilty parties compensate the family for their loss, but also to make the world safer for everyone else.
If Someone Causes a Death, Why Aren’t They Sent to Jail?
When the guilty party’s action, inaction or negligence (which caused the death) is not considered deliberate enough to be a criminal act, the party is not subject to criminal law. Wrongful death statutes were put into effect to ensure that even though the guilty party will not face criminal charges, they can still be held responsible in other ways. Intent is usually the determining factor for criminal charges.
This can get a little confusing to non-attorneys, but some criminal acts that result in death do fall under the category of wrongful death as well. For example, if someone doesn’t see a stop sign and they cause a fatal car accident, that would be a death which was purely due to negligence or carelessness, and may not be enough to result in criminal charges.
However, if someone deliberately murders someone else, they would face criminal charges and they may ALSO face a wrongful death lawsuit. In other words, almost all criminal acts that result in death are a form of wrongful death, but not all acts that result in death are considered to be criminal.
When is a Death Considered to be a Wrongful Death?
A death is considered to be a wrongful death when the victim dies as a direct result of the careless, negligent, wrongful, or reckless act of a person, a company, or a municipality.
As we touched on earlier in this article, intent is really the determining factor. Even criminal acts that result in the death of another person can result in a wrongful death claim.
Many years ago wrongful death cases did not exist in America, and it was believed that a person’s right to seek compensation died with them. Individual states began to compose their own wrongful death statutes to ensure that the dependents of the victim are not financially burdened by the loss of the victim, and that the guilty parties would not simply “get away with it.”
Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths
Automobile Accidents (car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, etc)
Work Related Accidents (construction accidents, heavy equipment accidents, industrial accidents, electrocution, explosions, etc)
Premises Liability (death occurring on property under such circumstances that the property owner is liable)
Drunk Driving Accidents (bar, club, or restaurant serving an excessive quantity of alcohol to someone resulting in death to themselves or others)
Day Care Abuse or Neglect (death resulting from those in charge not properly supervising minor children or those who are mentally unfit)
Medical Malpractice (death resulting from misdiagnosis or poorly executed treatment or medical procedure)
Criminal Attack (intentional attack such as murder, manslaughter, etc)
The key element in a wrongful death claim is not necessarily the way that the victim died, rather the circumstances surrounding the victim’s death. For example, a child drowning in a public pool may genuinely be a tragic accident with no one truly at fault. On the contrary, a child drowning while in the care of a neighbor could result in a wrongful death lawsuit on the grounds of negligent supervision.
How Long do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
While it can vary from case to case depending on the specifics, Texas’ wrongful death statute of limitations is generally two (2) years. The family of the decedent has two years after the death occurs in which the family may file a wrongful death suit in the state of Texas (minor children under 18 have until the age of 20). If your loved one died more than two years ago, don’t give up without calling us first. We may be able to find a “loop hole” (if you want to put it that way) to get your case moving forward.
How Do I Know if My Loved One’s Death Was a “Wrongful” Death?
The laws that serve as the foundation for wrongful death cases are multi-faceted, and have many specific details and limitations due to overlapping statutes resulting from tort reform, the workers compensation act, etc. There are many situations where a wrongful death has clearly occurred, yet the surviving family members do not have any legal recourse due to a specific technicality (for example: if an employee dies at a job that subscribes to workers’ compensation insurance, the victim’s parents may not have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This technicality was enacted as a part of the Texas Workers’ Compensation Act.)
Conversely, there are many times where someone dies in such a way that does not appear to be a wrongful death, but where negligence exists which enables the family to seek compensation from someone not obviously associated with the cause of death (for example, a loved one may go to a bar that serves them an excessive amount of alcohol and they later lose their life in an alcohol related fatality accident. The family would have a wrongful death claim against the bar under a “dram shop” cause of action.)
Because this type of law can be so confusing, it is important to speak to an experienced attorney who is familiar with the most up to date interpretations of the law. Our Dallas wrongful death attorneys are available to hear your story and let you know where you stand. Call us today at 1-855-326-0000.