Wrongful Death in Texas
The Kishinevsky Law Firm is a personal injury law firm in the greater Houston area. If you have suffered the death of a loved one due to the fault of someone else, call us today for a free consultation with a Houston wrongful death attorney.
If your loved one has passed away due to the fault of someone else, we are here for you. Unfortunately, no legal action can undo what has already happened. However, we can work with you to see that justice is achieved to the fullest extent possible, and that the responsible parties are held fully accountable.
To understand the legal remedies that may be available to you if you have suffered the death of a loved one, it is important to understand survival actions, wrongful death actions, and the differences between them.Survival Actions Under Texas Law
A survival action is an action brought on behalf of a deceased individual by a personal representative of the deceased’s estate or the deceased’s heir. The main statutes dealing with survival actions under Texas law are Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §71.021 and §71.022. Survival action damages belong to the estate of the deceased.
A survival action is not a separate legal claim, so in this sense calling it a survival action is a bit of a misnomer. A survival action is called a survival action because the legal claim being made on behalf of the injured person survives and continues even though the injured person has passed away. The relevant laws allow a claim for “personal injury to the health, reputation, or person” of a deceased individual to be brought or continued on behalf of the injured individual by the individual’s heir or representatives even if the injured individual has passed away.
For example, if someone is killed in a car crash where the other driver ran the red light, the representative(s) of the deceased’s estate or the deceased’s heirs could bring claims for negligence, negligence per se, and possibly gross negligence against the other driver and any other responsible parties on behalf of the deceased individual, but they would not have a separate claim for “survival” as a claim for “survival” does not exist under Texas law.
The specific claims and types of damages available in a survival action would depend on the individual circumstances involved as survival actions can include a wide variety of legal and factual scenarios. Recoverable damages in a Texas survival action could include the following:
- The deceased’s pain and mental anguish
- The deceased’s medical expenses
- Funeral expenses
- Exemplary damages aka punitive damages if they are recoverable under the applicable facts and law of the underlying claim
- Prejudgment and post-judgment interest
- Court costs
If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of someone else’s fault, contact us for a free consultation with a Houston survival action lawyer and see how we may be able to help you.Wrongful Death Claims Under Texas Law
A wrongful death claim is a separate legal claim under Texas law and is available to surviving spouses, parents, and children of the deceased individual. The main statutes dealing with survival actions under Texas law are Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §71.001-§71.012.
A wrongful death action may be brought in specific situations against specific individuals or entities listed in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code §71.002. A wrongful death action is brought directly by a surviving spouse, parent, or child of the deceased and seeks damages for the injuries suffered by the deceased’s surviving spouse, parent, or child. Wrongful death damages belong to the individual making the claim, not to the estate of the deceased.
The specific claims and types of wrongful death damages available in Texas are set by statute but nevertheless vary depending on the specific factual and legal issues involved. Recoverable damages in a Texas wrongful death claim could include the following:
- Pecuniary Losses (loss of the deceased’s earning capacity, advice, counsel, services, care, maintenance, support, and reasonable contributions of a pecuniary value)
- Expenses for psychological treatment which is reasonable and necessary to treat the claimant’s emotional trauma
- Mental anguish, which is the emotional pain, torment, and suffering that the claimant experiences from the loss of the family member
- Loss of companionship and society
- Loss of inheritance, which is defined as the present value that the deceased would, in reasonable probability, have added to the estate and left at natural death to the wrongful death beneficiaries had the premature death not taken place
- Exemplary damages, aka punitive damages. Exemplary or punitive damages are recoverable in a wrongful death action when the death is caused by the defendant’s willful act or omission or gross negligence.
- Prejudgment and post-judgment interest
- Court Costs
If you’ve suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of someone else’s fault, contact us for a free consultation with a Houston wrongful death lawyer and see how we may be able to help you.