Brian White | January 16, 2024 | Wrongful Death
If you’ve lost a loved one due to a wrongful death incident in Houston, TX, no amount of money can bring them back. However, filing a wrongful death claim helps you obtain monetary resources to address medical and funeral expenses, lost support, and other losses associated with your loved one’s death.
The question is, how much will you recover? That varies based on the unique circumstances of your case. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is a Wrongful Death in Houston, TX?
In Texas, a “wrongful death” occurs when an injury causes a person to die, and the injury was caused by another entity’s neglect, carelessness, default, wrongful act, or lack of skill.
If both of these criteria apply to your loved one’s death, you may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. However, it is up to your attorney to prove these criteria were met and that the entity’s carelessness, neglect, or wrongful act directly contributed to the death.
Oftentimes, accused parties will argue that other factors played a role in the wrongful death. They do this to reduce their liability and shift the blame to others. Their degree of liability and level of negligence will impact the value of your settlement.
What Is a Wrongful Death Settlement?
A wrongful death settlement is a monetary award you receive if the other party negotiates a deal prior to trial or once the trial is in progress. This settlement is meant to cover expenses associated with the incident, including medical bills, lost financial support, and loss of consortium.
Average Wrongful Death Settlement
The value of your wrongful death settlement will vary based on the unique circumstances of the incident, the age and health of your loved one, and several other factors. The median award amount in Texas in 2023 was $826,892. However, this figure includes both settlements and jury verdicts.
A jury verdict may determine the worth of your case if your case goes to trial after unsuccessful settlement negotiations. During the trial, facts and arguments will be presented to the judge and jury. The jury will then render a verdict, which can result in monetary damages if they rule in your favor.
What Factors Are Included in a Wrongful Death Settlement Calculation?
When compiling your wrongful death claim, an attorney will consider the following factors:
- Medical Expenses: This includes final medical costs for the victim
- Burial Expenses: Any burial or cremation costs
- The Age and Health of the Deceased: If the deceased was younger or healthier, it may warrant a larger settlement claim
- Whether Fault is Apparent: When liability is clear, attorneys can often file a stronger claim
- Future Household Services the Deceased Would Have Provided: This includes lawn care, maintenance, etc.
- Future Financial Support: This includes wages and the deceased’s expected pension or retirement
An experienced Houston wrongful death attorney will carefully compile all of these costs when calculating your claim. The goal is to account for any and all monetary losses that are a result of the wrongful death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Typically, only the spouse, child, or parent of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. These individuals are the ones who experience the most severe and direct impact from the person’s untimely death. If you are not sure whether you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim, consult an attorney so you can better understand your rights and options.
Who Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim Against?
You can file a wrongful death claim against any entity that played a role in the unjust death of your loved one. This includes individuals, businesses, government entities, and even corporations. If the entity’s negligence or actions meet the wrongful death standard in Texas, they can be held accountable.
How To File a Wrongful Death Claim
The first step is gathering medical records and any other essential documents about your loved one’s health history. You should also gather any police reports and other information you believe may be relevant.
Next, consult an experienced wrongful death attorney so that they can evaluate your case. They’ll be able to help you determine whether you have grounds to file a claim. If you do, they will calculate all relevant expenses and determine a just settlement amount.
Your attorney will reach out to the at-fault parties, as well as their legal representatives and insurance companies. They will initiate the claims process, begin gathering facts of the case, and explore settlement options.
If necessary, your wrongful death attorney will take your case to trial. During the trial, they will present facts to the judge and jury. Ultimately, the jury will render a verdict, which will dictate whether you receive monetary damages.
Will I Have To Pay Attorney’s Fees Upfront?
If a loved one has passed away, the last thing you should have to worry about is attorney’s fees. Fortunately, leading Houston personal injury and wrongful death lawyers bill on a contingency fee basis. This means that you only pay for legal services if the attorneys recover compensation for you.
Additionally, the fees are taken out of the settlement amount. This means none of the fees are billed to you directly, nor do you have to pay out of pocket. Once you receive your settlement, a percentage will be deducted from it to cover the attorney’s fees.
My Loved One Suffered a Wrongful Death in Houston — Now What?
If your loved one suffered a wrongful death, you must act quickly. Gather important documents as soon as possible, obtain contact information for anyone who may have knowledge of the incident, and connect with an experienced Houston wrongful death lawyer. The sooner you act, the greater your odds of obtaining justice for your loved one.
Contact the Houston Wrongful Death Lawyers at Attorney Brian White Personal Injury Lawyers For Help
Wrongful death claims are often worth a lot of money, and defendants fight hard to avoid paying. You can be almost certain that a defendant will hire a lawyer to represent them. Consequently, you will need one too. Under the contingency fee system that most lawyers use, however, you only pay legal fees if you win your claim.
If you are dealing with the loss of a loved one after a tragic accident, contact a Texas wrongful death lawyer to learn about your legal options.
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Houston, TX 77098
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