When another party’s conduct results in the preventable death of one of your loved ones, your family could bring a wrongful death lawsuit against them. A wrongful death claim is a way for your family to get justice regardless of whether the responsible party is criminally liable for their actions. In addition, the money your family could receive might make it easier to adjust to the loss and relieve financial burdens.

Speak with a McAllen wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after a loved one’s death. A compassionate injury attorney can explain your legal rights and help you pursue a case for compensation.

How to Know Whether Your Family Has a Claim

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.001 allows family members to sue for their loved one’s wrongful death. A party could be liable for wrongful death if their lack of skill, neglect, carelessness, a wrongful act, or a failure to act caused a fatal incident.

The responsible party (defendant) in a wrongful death case could be a person, institution, company, or unit of government. Some common scenarios that could lead to wrongful death claims include:

  • Drowning
  • Violent crimes
  • Vehicle accidents
  • Industrial accidents
  • Fatal medical errors
  • Falls in a public place
  • Nursing home neglect or abuse
  • Defective products that cause injury

Nearly any incident where a party’s action or inaction led to a preventable death could form the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Depending on the circumstances, prosecutors may bring criminal charges related to a fatal incident. A family’s wrongful death lawsuit is a separate legal proceeding in civil court. A proactive McAllen attorney could bring a successful wrongful death action even if the defendant has no criminal liability.

Two Types of Lawsuits Possible After a Preventable Death

Two separate legal actions could benefit the family members of someone who died due to another party’s conduct. The procedural requirements are different, as a seasoned legal professional could explain in detail.

Survival Action

If someone lived for a time after the incident that led to their death, their estate’s representative could bring a survival action. If the deceased person had a will, it names the estate’s representative. The court appoints a person to represent the estate if there is no will.

The survival action seeks compensation for the deceased person’s lost wages, medical expenses, and suffering during the time between the incident and the person’s death. Damages in a survival action also cover funeral and related expenses.

The money from a survival action goes to the deceased person’s estate. Once the estate has cleared all the deceased person’s debts, anything left over goes to the deceased person’s heirs.

Wrongful Death Action 

State law allows the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, or parents to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit; siblings and divorced spouses are ineligible.

Plaintiffs in a wrongful death suit can recover the value of the deceased person’s life to them. For example, family members who shared a home with the deceased person could recover the money they would have earned over their lifetime and contributed to the household. They also could recover the value of the services their loved one provided to the home, such as cleaning, tutoring, providing transportation, or handling yard work.

A spouse and children could recover for the loss of their inheritance—the money the deceased would have left if they had lived their full expected life span. A diligent wrongful death lawyer in McAllen could help all family members sue for the loss of the deceased person’s love, guidance, and companionship, and for their grief and anguish at the loss.

Pursue a Legal Claim with a McAllen Wrongful Death Attorney

Consider bringing a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one died prematurely because of another party’s conduct. Doing so holds the responsible party financially accountable for their actions.

A McAllen wrongful death lawyer could advocate for justice for your loved one. Call today to speak with a committed attorney.