Houston Wrongful Death Lawyers
Wrongful Death Attorneys in Texas with $10+ Billion Won for Clients
There is nothing more devastating than losing someone you love in an accident, especially when caused by another party's reckless or negligent actions. At Arnold & Itkin, we have worked on some of the most difficult and emotional wrongful death cases you could ever imagine. Spouses who lost their life partners. People who lost family members. Each time we take on a case like this, it's serious to us. The emotion is high. The stakes are higher. We have the experience to help you through these types of cases, and we'll fight as hard as we can for you.
When you look at our track record, you'll see there isn't a firm in Texas that's accomplished what we have in the last 10 years. That's because we're all in for our clients. No matter what.
The best advice we can give you during this painful time is that if you lost someone you love, it is incredibly important that you call us right away. When you meet with an experienced Houston wrongful death attorney, you'll start the process of getting answers. We have offices in both Texas and Louisiana, but our legal team at Arnold & Itkin serves clients from coast to coast. We understand what you are going through, and our lawyers consider it our responsibility to ensure that you and your family are justly compensated for your loss.
Abogados de lesiones personales en Houston
Why You Can Trust Our Houston, Texas Wrongful Death Law Firm
- We have won billions of dollars on behalf of our clients.
- You do not pay unless we win. We take all the risk.
- We have won cases for clients from all 50 states.
- We have won cases that set both state and national records.
- We offer completely free and confidential consultations.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death can be described as a situation where one individual's negligent or intentional actions lead to the death of another person. Laws exist to offer a civil recourse for those grieving the loss of a loved one under such circumstances. Each state has distinct statutes governing wrongful death claims, which encompass the time frame within which a survivor may file a claim, the eligible individuals who can file a claim, and the types of damages that may be awarded. While wrongful death can be broad, it does not cover just any kind of incident that causes the death of another. The negligent or reckless behavior of another must have led to the tragedy.
For example, the following incidents could qualify as wrongful death claims if they result in death:
- Car accidents caused by drunk driving, texting, or other issues
- Workplace accidents caused by lack of training or supervision
- Drowning accidents due to property damage/premises liability
- Defective products or drugs that caused the user to suffer death
The Ins & Outs of Texas Wrongful Death Claims
When an individual loses their life due to the negligent actions of another, they are entitled to financial compensation and legal recourse, just like any other injury victim. Unfortunately, they cannot fight against the injustices the suffered. Instead, family members who have lost a loved one due to the wrongful or unlawful actions of someone else are provided with the legal opportunity to file a wrongful death claim on their behalf.
By pursuing a wrongful death claim, a family can seek justice against the person responsible for their loved one's death. Even if the responsible party is already facing criminal charges for murder or manslaughter, a separate civil lawsuit involving a wrongful death claim can still be pursued. In fact, when a company, rather than an individual, is responsible for the fatality, filing a wrongful death lawsuit may be the only available recourse.
Wrongful death claims involve civil lawsuits filed by the deceased's loved ones seeking compensation for expenses related to the death. Such expenses may encompass the financial burden imposed on the family due to lost income, outstanding medical costs, or compensation for grief. In a wrongful death case, the standard of proof is the preponderance of the evidence. This implies that rather than the defendant being presumed innocent until proven guilty, the responsibility lies with them to demonstrate that they did not cause the death.
Examples of Texas Wrongful Death Claims
Individuals can bring forward wrongful death claims in a wide variety of situations.
Two of the most common ones involve the following:
Fatal Work Accidents
If a person was killed while on the job, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible party in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if a company failed to maintain equipment in a refinery and that failure was responsible for a refinery explosion that killed a contract worker, a wrongful death claim may be able to be brought against the company.
Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents
If a person was killed in a traffic accident due to another driver running a red light, a wrongful death claim may potentially be filed against the driver who broke traffic laws. Additionally, if the same accident involved a defective airbag that failed to deploy, an auto product liability claim could also be brought against the airbag and vehicle manufacturer. It is crucial to consult with an experienced attorney regarding your specific case, as there might be multiple parties at fault.
Wrongful Death FAQ
Can you sue for wrongful death in Texas?
Yes, you can sue for wrongful death in Texas. Under the Texas Wrongful Death Act (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 71), surviving family members and the deceased's estate may bring a wrongful death claim when the death is caused by the negligence, carelessness, unskillfulness, or wrongful act of another party.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas?
In Texas, a wrongful death suit can be filed by specific surviving family members of the deceased, as outlined in the Texas Wrongful Death Act. The eligible individuals who can file a wrongful death claim include the spouse of the deceased, children of the deceased (including legally adopted children), and parents of the deceased (including adoptive parents). Siblings and other relatives are not eligible to file in Texas. If the eligible family members do not initiate a claim within the time limit, the personal representative or executor of the deceased person's estate may file the wrongful death claim unless a family member requests explicitly that a suit not be filed.
Who is entitled to compensation in a Texas wrongful death lawsuit?
In Texas, compensation awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit is typically distributed among the eligible surviving family members. The distribution of compensation depends on the specific circumstances of each case. The court may consider various factors, such as the extent of each family member's financial dependence on the deceased, the degree of emotional suffering, and the nature of their relationship with the deceased. In some cases, the court may award a portion of the compensation to the deceased person's estate, which can then be distributed according to the deceased's will or the state's intestacy laws if there is no valid will.
What is the average payout for wrongful death in Texas?
While it's impossible to provide an exact average payout, both settlements and jury verdicts in wrongful death cases can range from tens of thousands to millions of dollars—depending on the case's specific circumstances. It is difficult to provide a specific average payout for wrongful death cases in Texas, as each case is unique and depends on various factors. These factors include the circumstances surrounding the death, the amount of economic and non-economic damages, and the specific details of each case.
How long does a wrongful death lawsuit take in Texas?
Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit may take several months to a few years to reach a resolution. Some cases may settle relatively quickly through negotiations, while others may require extensive investigation, discovery, and a trial, which can extend the duration of the process. The duration of a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas can vary significantly depending on the case’s specific circumstances. Several factors can influence the timeline, such as the complexity of the case, the number of parties involved, the availability of evidence, and more.
Is there a deadline for filing a wrongful death claim in Texas?
Yes, there is a deadline for filing a wrongful death claim in Texas, known as the statute of limitations. In general, the statute of limitations for Texas wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the deceased person's death. There may be some exceptions to this, such as when the claim involves a minor or if the defendant's wrongful act was fraudulently concealed. However, these exceptions are rare, and it is essential to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible to ensure your case is filed within the required time frame.
What are survival damages in Texas?
Survival damages in Texas refer to the compensation awarded in a "survival action," which is a legal claim brought by the deceased person's estate for the losses and damages the deceased would have been eligible to recover if they had survived the incident. In essence, a survival action allows the deceased person's claim to "survive" their death and be pursued on their behalf by their estate or personal representative.
Survival damages can include:
- Medical expenses incurred by the deceased person because of the injury leading to their death.
- Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased prior to their death.
- Lost wages or earning capacity from the time of injury until the time of death.
It is important to note that survival damages are separate from damages awarded in a wrongful death claim. While eligible family members bring wrongful death claims for the losses they personally suffered due to the death, survival actions focus on the losses the deceased person experienced before passing away.
Texas Wrongful Death Compensation, Children, & Guardian Ad Litem
When splitting compensation for wrongful death involves children, the law helps protect them with something referred to as guardian ad litem (GAL). Courts appoint a person as GAL for children because they know that a child isn't old enough to act in their own financial interest. A GAL is supposed to make sure that a child is fairly represented so they can receive a fair amount of compensation from a wrongful death case.
Proving Negligence in a Texas Wrongful Death Case
To bring a suit forward, you must have substantial evidence. In wrongful death cases, there are some critical elements involved that can help you prove the validity of your claim. This includes the fact that the responsible party owed your loved one a duty of care, breached that duty of care, and as a result, caused their death. In cases involving criminal actions, the intent will likely need to be proven or demonstrated. This can require extensive evidence, witness testimony, expert opinions, thorough legal investigation, and much more.
Contact Our Houston Wrongful Death Attorneys for a Free Consultation
If you have recently lost someone you love in such an accident, we encourage you to contact us immediately. No matter whether the incident involved a motor vehicle crash or the use of a defective drug, we have the experience you need to investigate your claim and take the necessary legal steps properly.
We have been successful in recovering billions on behalf of our clients.
For example, our Texas wrongful death law firm helped represent the family of a 58-year-old man who was killed after falling 12 feet in a parking lot while on the job. We took on the case and found that the parking lot violated OSHA and ANSI regulations—namely for the fact that it was missing a guardrail.
Attorney Jason Itkin tried the case for 6 days and was able to recover a $2.9 million verdict—even though the defendant's pre-trial settlement offer was only $200,000.
We are experienced, aggressive trial lawyers who are committed to your success. We encourage you to read more about our firm or browse through our victories. If you would like to discuss your case, call (888) 493-1629. We offer a completely free and confidential consultation of your case. We are here to help you and your family.
Do not hesitate to call (888) 493-1629 or fill out our online case evaluation form to send us a message!