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Last modified: 2019-01-21

When someone loses a loved one due to the negligence of another’s actions, it can leave them feeling distraught, in shock, and angry. While their loss cannot easily be replaced, personal injury laws do allow the injured party to seek damages by filing a wrongful death claim. The process to file this type of personal injury claim is very complex. As such, it is highly recommended you obtain help from a qualified and experienced personal injury lawyer.

Which Accidents Make It Possible to File Wrongful Death Claims?

A wrongful death claim can be applicable in cases where a loved one dies as a result of their injuries caused by another’s negligence. Some of the more common situations where someone could be injured seriously and die include:

  • Automobile/Motorcycle/Truck Accidents
  • Maritime/Ship/Dock Accidents
  • Medical (Malpractice) Accidents
  • Work/On-the-Job Accidents

It is important to keep in mind, in order to establish grounds to file a wrongful death claim, one must prove the same things as the deceased. In most cases, this will be to demonstrate and provide evidence that the other party was negligent in some manner which caused severe injuries that led to their death.

How Do You File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The first step for filing a wrongful death claim is to schedule a consultation appointment with a personal injury attorney experienced in wrongful death claims. There is a statute of limitations on how long you have to submit your claim. The sooner you file, the better, so you do not risk being unable to file your claim.

Your lawyer will review the evidence in the case to determine under which area of personal injury law to file the claim. For instance, if your loved one was an oil rig worker and died while onboard the oil rig from an explosion, the wrongful death claim would be filed under maritime laws.

Once your claim has been filed with the court, the defendant will have their opportunity to respond to your claim and file a formal response with the court. All this takes place long before setting foot inside a courtroom or going to trial.

Normally, after the claim has been filed and the defendant responds, settlement negotiations begin. The purpose of a settlement is to try to avoid going to trial. Often, insurance companies and the individuals and businesses they represent want to settle the matter quickly to avoid negative press.

If a settlement agreement cannot be reached, then the case proceeds to trial where a judge or jury will determine the outcome of the claim.

Law gavel on a stack of American money

What Is the Potential Settlement Amount for Wrongful Death Claims?

The amount you can seek damages for will vary, based on the specific circumstances of your wrongful death claim and case. Some of the items that can be included when determining your monetary compensation are:

  • Current and future lost earnings of the deceased.
  • Pain and suffering from your loss.
  • Loss of support and household-related services the loved one provided.
  • Loss of love, care, and companionship.
  • Loss of future inheritance the deceased would have provided.

You may also be able to seek punitive damages in Texas, and these are entirely up to the court to award. If you lost a loved one due to an injury accident caused by another, please feel free to contact Schechter, McElwee, Shaffer, & Harris, L.L.P. at 713-364-0723 for a free case evaluation and consultation appointment today.

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