The Queenan Law Firm
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Fort Worth Wrongful Death Attorney
Sometimes our loved ones are taken too soon. If that is your situation, we at The Queenan Law Firm offer our sincerest condolences. If your loved one died in an accident, during surgery, because of a crime, or because of the negligence or wrongful action of another, you may have a chance to seek some compensation for their death.
Clearly, money does not heal the pain of losing someone, and money cannot fill the hole they left. It may, however, cover some of the expenses and lost income associated with their death. Especially where the deceased’s work was the primary source of income for your family, their loss may mean you and your family are now without income, and any death may mean new expenses you need to cover. If you have lost a loved one in the Fort Worth area, The Queenan Law Firm may be able to help you get financial compensation for your loss.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
In Texas, there is legal action that can be taken against the parties responsible for someone’s untimely death. This is called a “wrongful death” action (or lawsuit). It usually requests compensation for the physical, emotional, and financial suffering of the deceased and their surviving family. Not just anyone can sue for the death of someone else, though.
Under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. § 71.004, only the surviving children, parents, or spouse are allowed to sue for wrongful death. This means that parents, grandparents, nieces, nephews, and siblings are not allowed to sue, even if they are financially dependent on the deceased. The only way to bring someone else into the group of who can sue if you die is to marry them or adopt them.
There is one other person who can sue for someone’s wrongful death, though: the executor of the deceased’s estate. An executor is the person under someone’s will who manages their estate and distributes their money and belongings to the next of kin. Even if someone dies without a will, Texas’ “intestacy statute” will appoint someone to be executor. The executor is able to sue starting three months after the death if the other immediate family has not already filed by then. When the executor brings the suit, the immediate family is allowed to object to the suit if they want. Unless they all agree that the suit should not occur, it will go forward.
No matter who sues, there is an ultimate deadline to file a suit within two years of the death. Anything filed after that point may be denied by the court, so it is important to contact a lawyer quickly to make sure your case is heard.
What Compensation is Available?
The general rule for a wrongful death suit is that the survivors can recover any damages that were caused by the untimely death of their loved one. The goal is to make it seem, financially, as if the loved one did not die. This means reimbursing any expenses, continuing to pay wages, and compensating for any emotional pain.
Someone who has died cannot sue for their own pain and suffering, but the survivors are allowed to sue on the deceased’s behalf. That means that any medical bills or pain and suffering that the deceased faced leading up to death are compensable to their heirs.
On top of this, you can recover any expenses you face as the family of the departed. That means things like funeral and burial costs, as well as grief counseling and your own emotional pain can all be recovered.
Finally, you can recover any money you will miss because of the death of your loved one. That means things like their salary or wages, their benefits (such as health insurance), their missed inheritances, and their missed investments and interest. These can all be recovered, and these are often the most important part for those who lost their primary support. If you are a stay-at-home spouse who lost your spouse, a child who lost a parent, or a parent who relies upon your adult child for support, you may not be able to support yourself financially without these kinds of reimbursements.
A court can order the parties responsible for your loved one’s death to pay all of these costs and expenses. Proving some of these damages may be complicated, but they are all available in Texas. Additionally, there are no limits or “caps” imposed on these damages under Texas law except for medical malpractice cases.
Speak with a Fort Worth, Texas Wrongful Death Attorney
If you have lost a loved one to a tragic accident, negligent healthcare, a crime, or other negligent or intentional action, contact The Queenan Law Firm. Queenan’s experienced wrongful death attorneys will fight to get you and your family the compensation you need to keep going. To set up a consultation, call (817) 476-1797. Do not delay – your case may have important deadlines that could hurt your chance of recovery.