This is the second post in our series on wrongful death cases in Fort Worth and throughout Texas. Our last post served as an overview of topics we will discuss. As we stressed in our last post, it is important to hire an attorney experienced in handling wrongful death cases as these cases are often litigated all the way to trial. In this article we will discuss damages in a case involving death.
In order to receive compensation for the tragic loss of a loved one two things have to be proven, 1) that you are a statutory beneficiary of the deceased (this can include a spouse, children, and parents) and 2) that the defendant’s wrongful act caused the death. In this area of Texas law, it is important to understand the difference between a “survival” claim and a “wrongful death” claim. The Texas Survival Statute allows a deceased person’s heir or estate representative to assert a personal injury claim that the deceased party would have been able to bring had he or she survived the incident. The claimants are “standing in the shoes” of the victim in a survival claim. Damages in a survival claim include things such as pain and suffering endured prior to death. A wrongful death claim is different in that it is brought by the deceased party’s spouse, children and/or parents, for damages arising from the loss of their family member. Damages in a wrongful death claim include financial losses due to the deceased party’s earning capacity and the value of support he or she provided, loss of companionship, and mental anguish caused by the death of the family member. In some cases, punitive damages may be recoverable. If the death is caused by gross negligence or a willful act by the defendant, plaintiffs may assert a claim for punitive damages.
Experts are often involved in death cases in order to prove the amount of damages. Economists can be used to assess earning potential and the amount of income lost due to a tragic death. Medical experts may be brought in to examine the extent of pain and suffering endured by the victim prior to death. Hiring an attorney who has an understanding of what to look for in an expert witness can make the difference in such a case. Contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible. You need counsel whether you are in Texas counties including Tarrant, Dallas, Johnson, and Wise as well as Hurst, Euless, Bedford, Haltom City, Richland Hills, North Richland Hills, Watauga, Grapevine, Colleyville, Southlake, Arlington, Keller, Grand Prairie, and Dallas.
We cannot stress enough the importance of retaining a lawyer with the resources to handle a case involving death. These cases are highly litigated and require extensive resources to counter the challenges brought by defendants and insurance companies. By hiring representation with the resources to litigate the case to trial helps ensure that your rights are protected.