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Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth Wrongful Death Attorneys

Wrongful Death Attorneys in Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth, Texas

One of the most painful and traumatic experiences in life, is losing a loved one. If you have experienced a death in your family our sincerest thoughts and prayers go out to you and your family.

At Chandler | Ross, PLLC, we understand how emotionally devastating a loved one’s death is for the survivors, and our Denton/Dallas/Fort Worth wrongful death attorneys can help you through this difficult time by taking care of the necessary legal actions following your family member’s death.

When your loved one’s death is caused by the wrongful actions of another person, it can be especially devastating and debilitating for a family. However, someone can and should be held responsible when his or her negligence led to the death of your family member. Surviving family members are left with a mountain of medical bills and funeral costs, and a hole in their lives that cannot be filled.

If your family member’s death was caused by the actions of another person or a company, you may be entitled to recover damages to compensate for your financial losses and emotional suffering. Texas wrongful death law allows certain surviving family members to recover damages to help lessen the burden caused by a wrongful death. While no amount of money can compensate for the loss of your loved one, it may relieve the financial burden your family member’s death has caused. The wrongful death attorneys at Chandler | Ross, PLLC, will evaluate your death case and make every effort to get you and your family the compensation which you may be entitled.

At Chandler | Ross, we firmly believe that the parties responsible for your family member’s death should be required to pay for these damages. Our Denton, Dallas, Fort Worth, Texas wrongful death attorneys will fight for you and your grieving family to seek justice and just compensation stemming from the loss of your loved one.

What Makes a Death a Wrongful Death?

The easiest way to determine if a death qualifies as a wrongful death is to determine if the accident would have qualified for a personal injury claim had the victim just been hurt instead of killed. For example, injuries caused by car wrecks, defective products, professional malpractice, or unsafe working conditions may qualify for personal injury damages; if these circumstances led to death instead of injury, you and/or your loved ones might be entitled to bring a wrongful death claim. Wrongful deaths are usually the result of intentional actions, negligence, or professional (i.e. medical) malpractice.  A wrongful death claim or lawsuit is a civil action used to hold those who were responsible for your loved one’s death accountable to the surviving family members.

Our wrongful death lawyers have experience handling these types of cases and understand the difficulty surrounding them. Please let us help you and your family. 

Texas Wrongful Death Laws

The Texas Wrongful Death Act superseded the common-law rule that prohibited surviving spouses, parents, and children from suing for actual damages arising from another person’s death.  In doing so, the Wrongful Death Act created a new statutory cause of action.

The elements of a cause of action for wrongful death are the following:

  1. The plaintiff is a statutory beneficiary of the deceased;
  2. The defendant is a person or corporation;
  3. The defendant’s wrongful act caused the death;
  4. The deceased would have been entitled to bring an action for the injury if he/she had lived; and,
  5. The plaintiff suffered actual injury.

Statutory beneficiaries that can bring a wrongful death claim, include the following:

  • Spouses
  • Children
  • Parents

Grandparents cannot bring a suit for the wrongful death of their grandchild and siblings cannot bring a suit for the wrongful death of a brother or sister.  

For conduct to be actionable, a defendant must cause the death by his or her wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.  In most wrongful death suits, this liability is established by proved the elements of a claim for negligence, intentional tort, premises liability or products liability. 

Texas Survival Laws

The Texas Survival Statue abolished the common-law rule that a cause of action for personal injury abates when the injured person dies.  Under the Texas Survival Statue, an heir or representative of an estate is allowed to pursue the deceased’s personal injury claim.  The Survival Statue does not create a new cause of action; it merely permits the deceased’s cause of action to survive his/her death. 

The elements of a cause of action for a survival action are the following:

  1. The plaintiff is the legal representative of the deceased’s estate or an heir of the deceased;
  2. The deceased had a cause of action for personal injury to his/her health, reputation, or person before he/she died;
  3. The deceased would have been entitled to bring an action for the injury had he/she lived; and,
  4. The defendant’s wrongful act caused the death.

A plaintiff must prove that he/she is either the personal representative of the estate or an heir of the deceased.

Wrongful Death Claim vs Survival Action

Wrongful death and survival actions are different types of legal recourse for the negligence-related death of your loved one. The differences are as follows:

  • Wrongful death claim: Open to surviving spouse, children and parents. This lawsuit recovers damages for the surviving family members as a result of the death.
  • Survival action: Compensates the estate of the deceased for losses the person suffered before death. Damages are similar to what the person may have gotten if the accident had not happened. Damages go to the estate and not to the surviving family.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death and/or Survival Lawsuit?

Every state has its own laws regarding who may file a wrongful death and/or survival lawsuit.  In Texas, only the children, parents, or surviving spouse of the decedent may file a wrongful death claim.  Texas does not allow grandparents or siblings to file wrongful death claims. It does, however, allow the executor of the estate to file such a suit. The executor can only file a wrongful death claim if the family has not done so after three months and the family has not specifically asked them not to file a claim. A positive outcome of such a suit will still result in the family receiving the awarded compensation.

In Texas, a personal representative of the estate or legal heir may file a survival claim.  A personal representative is an executor, independent executor, independent or temporary administrator, or a successor to any of the above.  To establish capacity to bring a survival claim as an heir, the heir must prove he/she is entitled to the deceased’s estate. 

Types of Wrongful Death Compensation

Compensation in wrongful death cases include money for:

  • Pecuniary Losses – loss of deceased earning capacity, advise, counsel, services, care, maintenance, support and reasonable contributions of value
  • Mental Anguish – emotional pain, torment, and suffering that the plaintiff would, in reasonable probability, experience from the death of a family member
  • Loss of companionship and society – positive benefits flowing form the love, comfort, companionship and society the plaintiff would, in reasonable probability, have experienced if the deceased had lived
  • Loss of Inheritance – present value that deceased would, in reasonable probability, have added to the estate and left at natural death to the wrongful death beneficiaries but for the wrongful act causing the premature death
  • Exemplary Damages – damages designed to punish a defendant and prevent the defendant and other form engaging in similar conduct, if the death is caused by defendant’s willful act or omission or gross negligence. Only a surviving spouse and heirs of the deceased can recover exemplary damages.  A parent cannot recover exemplary damages. 

Types of Survival Compensation

Compensation in survival cases include money for the underlying personal injury claim, including the following:

  • Pain & Mental Anguish
  • Medical Expenses
  • Funeral Expenses
  • Exemplary Damages

If you believe a family member’s death was caused by the carelessness of another, please contact Chandler | Ross, PLLC immediately for your free consultation. We welcome clients from the Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas, areas and we are here to help you and your family through your loss.  Our initial consultation is free.

Wrongful death claims are complex and require the skill of an experienced wrongful death attorney.  Contact our Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth, Texas Wrongful Death Attorneys at Chandler | Ross, PLLC.  Don’t wait, and don’t compromise – contact us today to see how we can help you.  In most cases, you pay nothing unless we settle your case or win a verdict.  Contact us now at (940)-800-2500 or support@chandlerrosslaw.com to schedule your free personal injury case evaluation and consultation.