If you've lost a family member and believe their death may have resulted from the negligence of another, you ought to speak with a wrongful death attorney in Houston. Call Grossman Law anytime to get free answers: 855-326-0000
Losing someone you love is heart-wrenching, but your grief may be compounded by the circumstances of their death. If your loved one died because of the wrongful actions of someone else, you deserve justice.
Our Houston, Texas wrongful death attorneys can’t bring your loved one back, and we can’t erase your pain. However, we can help you seek justice by filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the person responsible.
To find out whether you have a wrongful death claim, contact our skilled Houston wrongful death lawyers for a free consultation.
Top Four Things to Know About Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Before you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you should determine whether your case fulfills all the legal requirements of a Texas wrongful death claim. When you meet with our Houston wrongful death attorneys for a free consultation, we will evaluate your claim and answer your questions.
Here are the top things you should know before you file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit.
1. Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim in Houston
In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the victim can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If these family members do not file a lawsuit within three months of their loved one’s death, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death suit.
A personal representative, also known as an executor, is in charge of distributing a person’s estate. If a spouse, children, or parents specifically request that the representative not file a wrongful death suit, then the action is prohibited.
2. How Much Time You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
You have only a limited time after the wrongful death to file a lawsuit. This time period is governed by the Texas statute of limitations, which allows you to file a lawsuit for two years from the date of the person’s death. If you file after the two-year period, a judge will likely dismiss your lawsuit.
Even if you are near the two-year statute of limitations, an experienced Houston wrongful death lawyer may be able to find an exception to the rule. Contact our law office to see if an exception applies that will allow you to file a lawsuit against the person who caused your loved one’s death.
3. How Negligence is Proven in a Houston Wrongful Death Case
Most often, wrongful death lawsuits concern a defendant’s negligent actions. A wrongful death claim can also apply to death caused intentionally, but usually these lawsuits focus on negligence.
So, how do you prove negligence in Texas courts? To prove that someone negligently caused your loved one’s death, you need to show the following elements.
Duty of care
First, you must show that the defendant owed your loved one a duty of care, which means they were supposed to act responsibly. For instance, drivers on the highway have the responsibility to follow traffic laws. Grocery store owners have the responsibility to keep floors free of hazards and safely construct their displays. These duties are in place to protect others from harm.
Breach of duty
Next, you must show that the defendant breached their duty of care. In the example above, a driver may have been excessively speeding when they crashed into your loved one. The driver broke traffic laws and didn’t drive responsibly. As to the grocery store owner, perhaps they didn’t follow construction guidelines when building shelves. This breach of duty could have caused their display to crash on your loved one.
In a wrongful death case, you must show that the breach of duty caused the death of your loved one. If your loved one died in a random accident caused by no one, this will not support a wrongful death claim. However, if your loved one died due to someone’s negligence, you may have a wrongful death case.
Even if your loved one was partially responsible for the accident, you may still receive compensation. This compensation can be awarded to cover the other person’s portion of responsibility for your loved one’s death.
Contact our attorneys to find out if you have a wrongful death case.
4. The Damages That Can Be Claimed in a Wrongful Death Action
Damages in a wrongful death claim attempt to compensate family members for their harm suffered. These damages come in several types: economic, non-economic, and punitive.
Economic damages compensate the family for financial harm suffered as a result of the wrongful death. These calculable expenses include medical bills, lost wages, and loss of future earning. Other economic damages might consist of a lost inheritance or property damage.
Non-economic damages attempt to compensate the family for intangible losses. These emotional losses are more difficult to calculate but might include these things:
- Pain and suffering,
- Loss of companionship,
- Loss of a caregiver, and
- Loss of support.
Non-economic damages reflect the pain family members experienced from the loss of their loved one.
In cases where the defendant has behaved egregiously, a jury may award punitive damages. These damages are not as commonly awarded as economic and non-economic damages. Punitive damages aren’t intended to compensate the victim for a loss but to punish the defendant and deter others from such behavior.
Examples of Settlements Achieved by Grossman Law Wrongful Death Attorneys
We’ve helped thousands of clients over our thirty-year history, winning millions of dollars for accident victims and their families.
Here are some of our successful settlements and jury verdicts:
- $31 million dram shop judgment against a Fort Worth bar owner who overserved a customer, resulting in a serious car accident;
- $7.5 million wrongful death settlement after a commercial vehicle accident;
- $5.45 million wrongful death settlement after a truck accident;
- $5 million wrongful death settlement after a truck accident;
- $3.4 million wrongful death settlement after a motorcycle accident; and
- $3.2 million wrongful death settlement from a product liability accident.
Our decades of practice have allowed us to represent victims involved in many types of accidents. Whether your loved one was killed in a car accident, at work, or at a business, we may be able to help you file a wrongful death lawsuit.
The Most Common Causes of Wrongful Deaths in Houston
Houston residents may experience accidents at work, in public businesses, or on the crowded roadways. Houston’s role in the nation’s shipping industry and oil and gas industry creates many dangerous employment situations. As one of the biggest cities in the country with some of the busiest highways in the world, Houston experiences many terrible traffic accidents. Sadly, many Houston accidents lead to the death of people involved.
Here are some of the most common causes of wrongful death in Houston:
- Car wrecks,
- Truck accidents,
- Motorcycle accidents,
- Construction accidents,
- Offshore accidents,
- Exposure to dangerous products, and
- Medical errors.
Different laws may apply depending on where the wrongful death took place. For instance a wrongful death at a land-based workplace could be governed by different legal standards than a death that took place at sea.
Our experienced Houston wrongful death attorneys have extensive legal knowledge regarding the laws that apply to your claim. We will explain the law to you, answer your questions, and fight for your maximum compensation.
Stats: Deaths Caused by Vehicle Accidents in Houston Annually
Unfortunately, Houston has some of the most dangerous roads in the nation. A Houston Chronicle analysis of federal safety data from 2001 through 2016 found that Houston was “the most deadly major metro area in the nation for drivers, passengers and people in their path.”
Here are some sobering Houston accident statistics:
- In 2019, there were more than 600 fatalities on Houston roadways;
- More than a third of Houston fatality accidents were caused by alcohol and drug-impaired driving;
- Houston area DWI arrests have increased, surpassing 15,000 in 2019;
- In 2019, there was a 15% reduction in DWI fatalities across unincorporated Harris County;
- HPD arrested 3,000 more intoxicated drivers in 2019 than they did in 2018;
- At least 25 bicyclists and 158 pedestrians were killed on Houston roadways in 2019; and
- TxDOT has $300 million a year budgeted for safety improvements to Texas highways.
Highway safety experts think Houston traffic deaths will increase as roadways become more crowded. Safety experts say that safer highways depend on three factors: education, enforcement, and engineering.
By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you can promote these factors and help create safer roadways. Your lawsuit educates the community about the consequences of unsafe driving. You also demand justice for your loved one’s death.
When insurance companies have to pay, it motivates them to lobby for safer roadways. Ultimately, your lawsuit can provide for you and your family as well as protect other drivers by encouraging safer driving.
FAQ: Hiring a Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer
Am I Able to Hire Grossman Law Wrongful Death Attorneys Without Coming to Your Office Due to COVID?
Yes! Our lawyers often worked remotely even before COVID. Because we help many injured clients, we like to conduct the litigation process as conveniently as possible. So our Houston Texas wrongful death attorneys make house visits and meet with clients remotely.
You hire us to work for you, which means we go out of our way to make our services easy to access. Plus, we want to protect you and minimize your exposure to any potential illness. Contact us today to set up a free consultation, and we can schedule a remote meeting.
Grossman Law's Wrongful Death Lawyers Aren't Physically Located in Houston; Does That Matter?
Not in the least. Because wrongful death lawsuits involve much greater damages than most personal injury claims, your choice for a lawyer should be based on experience and qualifications, not proximity.
At Grossman Law Offices, we have more than thirty years of experience helping accident victims. We have represented thousands of families who have experienced injury or death due to someone’s negligence. We would like to help you too.
Can I Sue for Wrongful Death Without Hiring a Houston Attorney?
Yes, you can represent yourself in a Texas civil lawsuit. However, this is usually a bad idea.
There are many filing deadlines, court procedures, and other complicated legal rules to follow in a wrongful death lawsuit. Attorneys have spent years learning these rules and becoming skilled at negotiation and jury persuasion.
When you represent yourself, you may have good intentions to save money on attorney fees. However, you may lose money overall because a Houston wrongful death lawyer can potentially get you a higher settlement or jury award.
Do Most Houston Wrongful Death Cases Go to Trial or Settle out of Court?
Most Houston wrongful death cases settle out of court. However, our lawyers always approach a case as if we will take it to trial. When the defense knows that we are willing to take a case to trial, they are usually much more willing to reach a fair settlement.
Though you may want a quick resolution to this painful legal chapter, Houston wrongful death lawyers who promise a speedy settlement aren’t doing you a favor. These lawyers are just trying to get a paycheck with little effort and don’t have their clients’ best interests in mind. Make sure you hire a real trial lawyer who's prepared to go to trial if needed.
Will I Be Pressured to Hire Grossman Law Wrongful Death Lawyers If I Get a Free Consultation?
No! We offer a free consultation so that you have the opportunity to tell our Houston wrongful death lawyers about your case and get to know us. We want you to feel comfortable with our attorneys’ expertise and compassion before you sign a contract.
A consultation gives you the opportunity to ask questions and learn about the law that applies to your wrongful death case. We can share our opinion on the strength of your case and whether it is likely to achieve a significant settlement. However, our Houston wrongful death lawyers never pressure you to hire us before you’re ready.
What Information Do I Need for a Consult with a Houston Wrongful Death Attorney?
When you meet with our Houston Texas wrongful death attorneys for a free consultation, you should bring information that backs your claim. We use this information to determine potential liability in your case.
If you have any of these documents, bring them to your meeting with a Houston wrongful death attorney:
- Photos from the scene of the accident,
- Police report,
- Medical bills,
- Doctors’ reports,
- Communication from the insurance company,
- Witnesses’ statements and contact information, and
- Texts and emails you sent or received describing the accident.
This information tells us how much information our investigators will need to build your case. If you don’t have all of these documents, our experienced investigators can usually uncover them. We have successfully investigated wrongful death cases to reveal inaccurate police reports and other evidence that leads to successful outcomes for our clients’ difficult cases.
Our Houston Wrongful Death Lawyers Are Ready to Answer Your Questions
To discuss your claim with our skilled Houston Texas wrongful death attorneys, contact us at 855-326-0000 or reach us online. We can discuss your loved one’s wrongful death and give our opinion about your potential claim.
Even if you aren’t ready to file a lawsuit yet, contact us to make sure you don’t lose your opportunity to sue because of the statute of limitations. We are available 24/7 through phone or online.