The pain of losing a loved one is never truly describable. The pain becomes much more profound when that death is caused by an unexpected event, like a car accident, workplace accident, or medical malpractice. Not only does one need to deal with the emotional fallout (both their own and the rest of the family’s), but sometimes it could also mean having to deal with financial realities, especially if the death is of a breadwinner in the home.
If you have lost a loved one to an accident, caused by the negligence of another, then you may be entitled to wrongful death compensation. You may not get your loved one back, but at the very least you will be able to handle the financial realities that families in such situations are almost always forced to face. However, there are some factors which you need to consider when filing for a wrongful death lawsuit.
NOT EVERYONE CAN FILE FOR A CLAIM
Under United States law and, by extension, Texas law, only specific individuals directly related to the deceased will have the right to file a wrongful death claim. Specifically, parents, children, spouses, adopted children, and children born of wedlock (if they were dependent on the deceased) and adopted parents. Any of these people, or a group consisting of any of them, would be entitled to compensation.
If they do not wish to file the claim, then the estate of the deceased may file a claim, within three months of the death. However, the above family members would have the right to block a claim made by any such estate.
WHAT DOES THE COMPENSATION COVER?
Basically, the compensation is a way of making up for the losses that the family has suffered. Namely, lost potential earnings, loss of inheritance (and potential inheritance), loss of companionship and love, loss of household services, funeral and burial expenses, emotional distress, and mental anguish.
The court will first consider whether the claimants were dependent on the deceased and then, keeping the above factors in mind, determine a monetary amount to be awarded to the family. Again, while the amount might be considerable, it cannot replace the person you’ve lost, but at the very least you would be able to face financial realities and ensure the family does not have to suffer in that regard.
WILL THE CLAIM BE SUCCESFUL?
Some cases are pretty straightforward, where you can see that the death was caused by the accident or event in question. However, regardless of how straightforward or convoluted the matter might be, proving it to a court of law is a different matter altogether. There are conditions prescribed under the law that you have to meet. You have to prove “negligence”, which means the person’s actions (or lack of them) contributed to the death of the family member, and such (lack of) actions were contrary to how the person should have acted, or not acted.
That is just a generalized explanation and the specifics to be followed would be better known to a lawyer. In fact, if you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit, then it is recommended that you hire a lawyer, from point of advice to completion of the trial. Wrongful death lawsuits can be tricky, not just legally, but also logistically. As such, it would be best to hire the services of a lawyer for such a sensitive matter.