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Wrongful Death Lawyers In Houston, Texas

Losing a loved one in an accident is devastating, especially when you know the death could have easily been avoided had the negligent party acted with care. At The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian, our experienced wrongful death attorneys have worked on some of the most emotional wrongful death cases. While we realize that our legal representation can never bring back your loved one, we hope that our services and pursuit of justice bring some comfort to surviving family members.

If you have recently lost a loved one, the wrongful death lawyers at The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian are here to help you through these difficult times. You can discuss your legal options and ask any questions you have about the wrongful death claim process when you contact us for a free case review. We will work tirelessly to fight for the fair compensation to which you are entitled.

What Is a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death occurs when a person’s negligence or intentional action causes someone else’s death. There are laws in place that allow surviving family members to pursue legal action through a civil wrongful death lawsuit when another person is responsible for the death. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.002 states that a person is responsible for providing financial compensation to the decedent’s family when they cause the death through their “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” Therefore, if someone else’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, you can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit against them.

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Most Common Causes of Wrongful Death in Texas

There are many situations that can give rise to wrongful death claims, such as:

Car Accidents

Car accidents are a leading cause of fatal injuries. Other drivers may be responsible for the victim’s death due to negligent driving actions, such as:

Truck Accidents

Because of the vast difference in the size and weight of trucks and passenger vehicles, truck accidents are often deadly. It can be difficult for surviving family members to take on trucking companies with their considerable resources, but our accidental death lawyers can help.

Motorcycle Accidents

Motorcycle accident victims lack the benefit of a steel frame, airbags, and seatbelts, so the results of colliding with a larger passenger vehicle are often fatal.

Pedestrian Accidents

Pedestrians have little chance when a vehicle crashes into them, which is why pedestrian accidents often have fatal consequences.

Bicycle Accidents

Motor vehicle accidents involving cyclists often result in fatal injuries to the cyclist. Our highly-esteemed wrongful death lawyers can help a cyclist’s loved ones pursue compensation through a wrongful death action.

Slips and Falls

A leading cause of wrongful death claims is slips and falls that occur because property owners allow dangerous conditions on their property.

Work Injuries

If your family member’s death was caused by a fatal accident at work, you may be able to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim against the responsible party, in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. For example, many Houston residents work at refineries. If a company failed to maintain the equipment at the refinery and this led to an explosion that killed a worker, the worker’s family may be able to file a wrongful death claim against that company.

Why Should You Hire Us and Trust in Our Wrongful Death Law Firm?

The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian has extensive experience handling all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death claims. Our Houston law firm has successfully recovered millions of dollars for thousands of people since we opened in 2004. From the moment you enter our doors, you become part of our family. We can help with your wrongful death claim by:

  • Immediately launching an investigation into your loved one’s death 
  • Determining the actual cause of the fatal accident and all parties responsible for it
  • Collecting all vital evidence relating to your case
  • Reviewing all insurance policies that apply to the circumstances and handling all aspects of insurance claims
  • Negotiating for fair compensation on your behalf 

A skilled Houston wrongful death lawyer at The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian will be able to negotiate with an insurance company for a settlement that considers your family’s current and future needs. If an insurance company refuses to provide a satisfactory settlement offer, we can file a wrongful death lawsuit and try your case in court if that’s what it takes to pursue the compensation you deserve.

Who Can Sue for a Wrongful Death in Texas?

Under Texas’ wrongful death statute found at Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.004(a), only the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, or parents have the right to file a wrongful death action following a loved one’s death. If none of these people bring a wrongful death claim within three months of the deceased’s death, the executor or personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can bring a wrongful death claim.

In the case of children claimants, wrongful death claims are not limited to minor children. Adult children can also bring a wrongful death claim to recover financial contributions their parent might’ve made, as well as other damages.

If you believe that your family member’s death falls within Texas’ wrongful death law, contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer from The Law Offices of Hilda Sibrian for a free consultation.

What Is the Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003(b), the cause of action in a wrongful death claim is the date of a person’s death. The statute provides that a person has two years from the date of the cause of action to file a wrongful death claim.

Two years can sound like a long time for some people. Still, it is a relatively short window when you consider the amount of work that must be done before a claim can be filed. In most cases, quick action is critical to preserving key evidence needed to prove the claim. So, if you believe that your loved one suffered a death due to another person’s wrongful conduct, you should get help from an attorney as soon as possible.

Texas does allow for certain exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. One particular example is when the plaintiff is a minor child. In such cases when plaintiffs are minor children, the statute of limitations is tolled (or delayed) until two years after the minor’s 18th birthday. A parent or legal guardian can file a claim on the child’s behalf before their 18th birthday, and the court will appoint an independent third-party attorney to ensure any settlement or award is in the child’s best interests.

Another exception also applies to cases involving the so-called “discovery rule,” in which a defendant’s wrongful conduct is not discovered until after the statute of limitations has already expired. A person could be charged in a murder more than two years after the act was committed, and they could still be held liable as long as the wrongful death claim is filed within two years of the date the family knew or should have known the defendant was responsible for their loved one’s death.

Other possible exceptions to the statute of limitations include cases in which defendants use fraud to conceal their liability for wrongful acts. The limitations period can also be extended when a plaintiff suffers from a mental or physical disability that prevented them from filing a claim.

However, generally speaking, you should get help as quickly as possible. You don’t want to lose the right to pursue compensation following a loved one’s death.

What You Need to Know About Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death cases are often complex. It can be emotionally devastating to deal with the unexpected death of a loved one and still think about how you can protect your legal rights by filing a wrongful death suit. Having capable legal counsel during this time can ensure that the legal aspects of the wrongful death claim are handled by a professional while you focus on your family and grieving your loss.

A wrongful death case is a civil action. What happens in this case is separate and distinct from any criminal investigation into your loved one’s death. This is a special type of personal injury case that seeks to relieve the financial burden brought on by your loved one’s sudden death.

The time you have to file a wrongful death action is limited. Under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003(b), you have two years from the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.021 provides separate legal action for a survival claim. This allows for the deceased’s estate to recover compensation the deceased would have been able to recuperate had they lived from the accident, such as lost wages and pain and suffering damages.

Evidence to Support a Wrongful Death Claim

Pursuing a wrongful death claim requires strong evidence that shows the following:

  • The responsible party acted in a negligent manner
  • Their actions were the cause of the accident
  • The fatal accident could have been avoided if the other party had exercised reasonable care

An experienced wrongful death lawyer in Houston can gather crucial evidence to establish these necessary elements. They can interview witnesses, discover documents that point to a party’s negligence, consult with experts, and present photos or videos to establish the cause of your loved one’s death and how the defendant is responsible for it.

Damages Paid in Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death claims allow loved ones to seek compensation for the full extent of their losses, which may include financial compensation for:

  • Medical expenses related to the death
  • Loss of the deceased’s future earnings
  • Burial and funeral expenses 
  • Lost benefits, such as retirement, pension, and health insurance coverage
  • Emotional distress
  • Mental anguish 
  • Loss of consortium

In certain circumstances, loved ones may be able to recover punitive damages when the victim’s death was due to an intentional act or gross negligence. Punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant and prevent similar actions in the future.

You can learn more about the wrongful death damages to which you may be entitled when you contact us for a free case evaluation.

Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys to Help with Your Case

Was your loved one killed in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall, or work accident? Wrongful death laws may provide you with the means to seek compensation for your damages. Our wrongful death lawyers have the experience you need to thoroughly investigate your claim and take legal action to help alleviate the financial burden caused by your loved one’s unexpected death. Call or contact us online to get started with the process. We will be with you every step of the way.

Legally Reviewed by Attorney Hilda Sibrian.

Wrongful Death

FAQs

A wrongful death is any death that occurs due to the negligent actions of another person. Negligence is the legal concept that most personal injury cases in Texas rest on. It’s a term that refers to the careless or reckless actions of another person. When those actions cause a death, individuals left behind can file a civil claim to collect compensation for their losses. In Texas, however, only certain individuals can file a wrongful death claim.

No one should ever try to file a wrongful death claim on their own. An attorney will not only make the entire process easier while you and your loved ones are grieving, but a lawyer can also give you a better chance of success with your claim. When looking for an attorney, look for one who has:

  • Many years of experience
  • A successful track record of handling wrongful death cases like yours
  • Proper resources, such as a network of expert witnesses
  • Experience at trial, in case the insurance company doesn’t settle

In Texas, only close family members can file a wrongful death claim, in most cases. These family members include the parents, the children, and the spouse of the deceased. These individuals can file an individual claim or, if more than one of these individuals wants to file a claim, they can join together and file just one claim. If none of these family members wants to file a claim, the executor of the estate may file a wrongful death claim. If the family members choose, though, they may block the executor from filing a claim.

Wrongful death claims are intended to compensate surviving loved ones for the losses they have suffered as a result of the death. This compensation is referred to as damages. The damages available in wrongful death lawsuits include:

  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of services, such as loss of childcare or loss of cooking and cleaning
  • Emotional anguish and mental distress
  • Loss of love, companionship, comfort, and society
  • Lost inheritance

Although these damages cannot undo the tragic losses that surviving loved ones are coping with, they can help ease the financial burden of the loss.

Wrongful death cases in Houston fall under the area of personal injury law. As such, they have the same statute of limitations as other personal injury cases. This is the time limit loved ones have to file their lawsuit. In Texas, the statute of limitations on wrongful death claims is two years from the date of the death.

There are some exceptions to this, such as if family members only learn of someone else’s negligence sometime after the death occurs. However, most wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within two years or loved ones will lose their right to receive any compensation for the death.

Shortly after filing a wrongful death claim, the insurance company may contact you to offer you a settlement. Many people immediately accept this offer because they think they are lucky to receive anything, or because they believe it is fair. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case.

Insurance companies contact loved ones shortly after the death, hoping they don’t realize how many losses they will incur as a result of the death. If you agree to the settlement offer, you are barred from receiving any compensation in the future, even though the settlement will likely not be enough to cover the full amount of losses.

Our compassionate wrongful death attorneys can review any settlement offer you receive and provide guidance on what your case is truly worth. Contact us not to set up a free consultation.

The majority of personal injury cases, including wrongful death cases, settle out of court. However, no one can determine whether your case will go to court without reviewing the facts of the case, and without trying to come to a fair settlement with the insurance company. If the insurance company refuses to offer a fair settlement, you may have to go to court.

Our wrongful death lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means that our attorneys only get paid if the case is successful and you receive compensation for the wrongful death. When that is the case, our attorney receives a percentage of the compensation you are awarded. If you are not successful with your case, there is no fee for our services. With payment structures like this, the real question is whether loved ones who have lost someone can afford not to hire an attorney to help with their case.

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