The loss of a loved one may impact the lives of those left behind in many different ways. There is a loss of companionship, which may have taken many forms. The deceased may have taken care of the other members of his or her family by providing necessary services, including maintaining the home. The victim may have been the primary wage earner, so the family may suffer from devastating financial consequences as well as the emotional impact of the death. There are legal remedies intended to cover each of the categories of harm suffered by the victim of the negligence, recklessness, or intentional acts of the wrongdoer, as well as the injury is done to the surviving family members. The law provides for compensation that covers medical bills that the deceased incurred before dying, as well as funeral costs, lost earnings, pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and other expenses.
There are two different types of actions that may be brought in Texas after someone has died. These are a survival action and a wrongful death action. A survival action is brought pursuant to the Texas Survival Statute. It is based on the legal idea that the personal injury lawsuit that may have been brought if the victim had lived “survives” the death of the individual. These actions are pursued in the same manner as any other personal injury case and the damages that are recoverable include medical expenses, lost wages, and property damage, as well as the funeral expenses that resulted from the death. The money is paid into the estate and then is distributed pursuant to the terms of an executed will or the laws of intestacy if there was no will.
A wrongful death action may be brought by the surviving spouse, as well as the children or parents of the deceased, depending on who survived the death of the victim. Under Texas law, the siblings of the deceased may not bring a wrongful death action. The damages in a wrongful death case are based on the loss experienced by those left behind rather than the injuries and pain and suffering of the victim. In order to recover compensation for the loss, the parties must themselves survive until the conclusion of the case. There will be no damages paid to the family or estate of a party who dies while the case in ongoing.
It is possible for a person to bring both a survival action and a wrongful death case since the damages are based upon different harm. A survival action may be brought within the same time period as the underlying personal injury case could have been brought had the individual lived. However, the law builds in a one-year period of time where the statute of limitations does not run after the death of the victim. This is done because there are a lot of steps that have to be followed in order to deal with the legalities of the death. If the appointment of an executor or administrator occurs before that one-year time period has expired, the statute of limitations will begin to run again. Generally, a person has two years to file a wrongful death case, but there are situations that alter this time limit. The timing of bringing an action is critical, so it is important to consult an experienced wrongful death/survival action attorney as soon as possible.
When a loved one has died, there are many things that must be done in the immediate aftermath. However, it is important to remember that legal rights may be lost if certain actions are not taken fairly quickly. If you lost a loved one in an accident, it is important that you speak with an attorney right away.
The Texas Wrongful Death Accident Attorneys at Alex Martinez Law Office help families who have lost loved ones recover from the economic, and emotional damages they have suffered due to their loss. At Alex Martinez Law Office, we pride ourselves on helping our clients pursue the results that they deserve. If you would like to discuss your potential wrongful death action with our office, contact us today at (866) 253-9689.