Nick Maram & Associates, PC, is a respected Texas wrongful death law firm with over 20 years of experience assisting families who have lost a loved one in an accidental death. We are committed to helping bereft family members find justice in cases where the death of a loved one was caused by someone else’s negligence. Our attorneys provide caring and compassionate representation to families in all areas of Texas.
Wrongful death refers to the untimely termination of life caused by the negligent or intentional act of another. The wrongful conduct leading to the death can be criminal, as in cases of homicide, or “accidental,” but having the same result. Intoxicated drivers, for example, might not have the intent to injure other motorists, but can do so anyway with their reckless behavior. Employers are similarly not in the business of killing their workers, but are nevertheless liable for preventable, work-related fatalities.
When a person, business, or combination of entities commits a tortious act resulting in death, the cause of action does not die with the victim. Rather, surviving family members can bring a civil action on behalf of the deceased. “Wrongful death” is distinguished from a criminal action because it is a civil claim for damages brought by the family, not the state. One death can thus give rise to two independent legal proceedings. Failure to prevail in the criminal proceedings does not preclude the family from bringing a wrongful death claim. Accordingly, negligent parties exonerated in criminal court may nevertheless be held civilly liable for wrongful death.
Texas law allows eligible family members to recover damages for wrongful death. Generally, only the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased have standing to bring a claim. If none of the eligible family members has taken action within three months of the death, the executor or administrator of the estate can also file suit.
The Civil Practice and Remedies Code sets forth guidelines for bringing a wrongful death claim. Section 71.002 provides: “A person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if the injury was caused by the wrongful act, negligence, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default of another person or his agent.” Under this law, a “person” can be an individual, association, company, corporation, or trustee and “death” includes the failure of an unborn child to be “born alive.”
Surviving family members can recover several forms of damages resulting from the wrongful death. First, they are entitled to medical expenses, funeral bills, and other reasonable costs related to the death. Second, they may recover the deceased’s lost income, which accrued over time, can add up to a significant amount. Third, they are entitled to damages related to the loss of relationship with the deceased. Although there is no set value to the loss of guidance, support, and companionship a family member provides, it is a very tangible part of the plaintiff’s harm and must be compensated accordingly. Section 71.009 further provides for “exemplary damages” where death is caused by the defendant’s willful act, omission, or gross negligence.
If you have lost a loved one in any type of incident, accident, or occurrence, we may be able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve. For over 20 years, we have provided the highest quality legal representation to injured victims or the families of wrongful death victims from all areas of Texas, recovering for our clients in complex personal injury or wrongful death cases. We do not charge anything to start working on your case and only get paid if compensation has been received in your case. This means that we take all the risk in spending our resources and you are guaranteed that in case of no recovery you owe us nothing as expenses or attorneys fees. For a free consultation with an experienced Texas personal injury attorney, call (800) 979-7222 or Contact Us online. We look forward to hearing from you.