Those who have lost a loved one due to negligent or reckless actions are filled with grief. Part of this grief manifests in the form of constant questioning. Survivors want to know why this has happened, how it happened, and what can be done to hold the responsible party accountable. Some of these heart-wrenching questions may never be answered, but pursuing a wrongful death action against the responsible party can help survivors find a small degree of closure.

Wrongful death lawsuits have been an option for a long time. However, many people do not know exactly what can be accomplished by filing such a lawsuit. Often, it is not the promise of compensation that drives the bereaved. Instead it is a quest to take control and to make sure whoever caused the death does not steal a life from another Texas family.

There are several types of damages available in a wrongful death suit. Most people understand financial or pecuniary damages, which are among the most common types of damages. Pecuniary awards help survivors recover financially from their losses. This might include the loss of income or money lost paying for the victim’s medical or funeral expenses.

In Texas, the bereaved may also be awarded exemplary damages, which is commonly called punitive damages in other states. If it can be shown that the party who caused the death engaged in “serious or malicious” wrongdoing, exemplary damages could be an option. Courts may decide to award exemplary damages in order to punish the responsible party appropriately or to deter other people from behaving negligently.

Recovering damage awards will never bring back your loved one, but it is one way to find closure and move forward after the wrongful death of a loved one. You may need to seek advice from a personal injury attorney if you are unsure what steps to take next.

Source: Texas State Legislature- Civil Practice and Remedies Code, “Chapter 71: Subchapter A, Wrongful Death,” accessed Oct. 05, 2016