After an accident claims your loved one’s life, you may be so paralyzed by grief that you don’t realize that you have avenues to potential justice for your loss. When the event that killed your spouse or other family member was the result of someone’s negligence or other wrongdoing, there may be a criminal prosecution.
However, many — if not most — accidental deaths do not rise to the criminal level. It is those instances where justice must be sought through the Texas civil court system.
Not everyone can file a wrongful death action after a tragedy. To do so in Texas, the decedent must either be your spouse, parent or child. However, the executor of the person’s estate may also file a wrongful death claim.
In the lawsuit, the petitioner can seek:
- Medical and funeral expenses
- Lost wages and future support
- Loss of consortium and/or companionship
Depending on the circumstances of the individual’s death, it may also be possible to pursue financial recovery for the pain and suffering your loved one suffered before their death.
Wrongful death cases can be very complex and can take years to resolve. Many cases are settled through attorney negotiations or formal mediation before they ever reach the courtroom.
However, it is prudent to have a clear understanding of the value of your wrongful death claim so that you don’t accept a low offer. Although it may be tempting to settle so that you can get closure and begin moving on, it is never a good idea to leave money on the table by accepting a quick check. Your Houston wrongful death attorney can advise you whether to accept a settlement offer from the defendant’s insurance carrier.