If a person’s death results from the negligence of another person or a business, his or her family can seek financial compensation. A wrongful death lawsuit in Texas can result in damages for both monetary and non-monetary costs associated with the fatal incident. The plaintiff must prove in court that negligent actions directly resulted in the death of a loved one.
Learn more about the factors involved in a wrongful death award in Texas as well as how the process works.
Types of damages
Family members of the deceased person can seek damages for:
- Loss of services provided by the deceased person, such as cooking, child care, household duties and yard work
- Lost earnings
- Medical costs associated with the fatal incident
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of love and companionship
- Emotional anguish
- Pain and suffering
Settlement amount factors
The court will use actual figures to determine the award for funeral expenses and medical bills. The judge can estimate lost earnings by considering the person’s salary and life expectancy, and estimate household services depending on the average cost for those items. Texas does not have a cap on pain and suffering for wrongful death, so the jury will have discretion. Some elements that may play into their calculation include:
- The person’s age at the time of death
- Whether the person was the main salary earner for his or her family
- Whether the person spent time in the hospital or died immediately
- Whether the person has a spouse who is now without a partner
- Whether the person has children who are now without a parent
Family members have two years from the date of the person’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Otherwise, the court will dismiss the case. Only the person’s spouse or same-sex partner, child or parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This avenue is not available to grandparents, fiances or siblings of the deceased person.