Personal injury Library

Who Is Responsible for the Payment in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?

Unfortunately, you sometimes have to bring a claim for wrongful death in Texas. This type of claim provides a way for a spouse, child, or parent of the deceased to secure a sense of justice when someone close to them dies by another person’s mistake. 

Who pays for a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas depends on who was responsible for the death. The person causing the death, or a relevant insurance carrier is the most likely payor. 

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a form of negligence that requires showing:

  • The person or entity that caused the death had a duty to your loved one;
  • They breached that duty through their action or inaction;
  • The breach caused your loved one’s death; and
  • You suffered damages from the loss of your loved one.

In bringing this claim on your behalf, we must establish these elements by a preponderance of the evidence. That means we must show they are more likely than not to be true.

To successfully make this showing, it is essential to secure the services of an experienced attorney. At Grossman Law Offices, we know how to gather evidence in support of these wrongful death elements and present the strongest case possible.

Who Pays for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settlement in Texas?

The most apparent payor is the person who caused the accident. For example, in a traffic fatality, it would be the other car’s driver. However, the person who caused the accident often does not have the resources to pay for the damages caused. That’s why most people carry insurance. Depending on the policy, we can seek compensation from the insurance company to cover the losses caused by the at-fault insured person. If the insurance policy limits do not fully cover the damages, we may sue the person directly if they have enough resources to cover the difference. Or in the case of a vehicle accident, we may be able to file a claim with the deceased person’s own underinsured/uninsured motorist policy.

Insurance companies are involved in many wrongful death suits, not just automobile accidents. For example, you may have a wrongful death claim based on medical malpractice, in which case, the healthcare professional’s malpractice insurer is responsible for payment. Or you may have a wrongful death claim based on a fatal injury at someone’s home. In that case, the negligent person’s homeowners or renters insurer would pay the wrongful death claim.

You can also bring a wrongful death claim against the person’s employer if they were working when they caused the death of a loved one. Again, this likely involves payment by the employer’s insurer.

What Damages Can You Receive in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In a wrongful death suit, you can obtain damages for things like:

  • Loss of companionship, 
  • Loss of inheritance, 
  • Burial expenses, and 
  • Lost economic support. 

If the actions were intentional or reach the level of gross negligence, then you can recover punitive damages as well (known as exemplary damages in Texas). Wrongful death claims can result in hundreds of thousands or even several million dollars in recovery. When there are multiple claimants, the proceeds are distributed among them.

How Do You Establish Fault If Both Sides Are Partly to Blame?

Texas has a system of comparative negligence based on proportionate responsibility. That means that if the deceased was responsible for more than 50% of the accident—whether a traffic accident, accident at someone’s home, or otherwise—then you will be unable to receive any recovery. On the other hand, if the deceased’s share of the blame was 50% or less, the amount would be reduced proportionately. For example, if the deceased was 20% responsible, their family could receive only 80% of the wrongful death damages. Proportionate responsibility can lead to various outcomes, and your attorney can use the evidence to minimize how much fault gets attributed to the deceased person.

Work with Experienced, Compassionate Attorneys

At Grossman Law Firm, we have a team of award-winning attorneys with substantial experience with high-value wrongful death cases. In addition, we have over 30 years of experience with personal injury lawsuits and know how to handle the situations professionally and compassionately. Please get in touch with us today to discuss your options.

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