When you lose a loved one unexpectedly, you are faced with emotional and mental trauma. You also face economic costs and financial losses that you hadn’t planned for. When your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, your grief can quickly turn to anger.
If your family has lost a loved one to wrongful death, you deserve answers and justice. At Pines & Goldenzweig, PLLC, our Houston wrongful death attorneys fight for families like yours. We demand full financial compensation for families who have been left with overwhelming financial burdens after a death that could have been prevented.
Contact our firm today for a free case evaluation with a Houston wrongful death lawyer. We can discuss your rights, answer your questions, and talk about the next steps. Our firm does not charge upfront fees for our advice and our legal representation. You don’t have to pay us anything unless and until we recover compensation for you.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Houston?
Texas law specifies categories of people who are entitled to file a wrongful death claim.
- First, the law allows a surviving spouse, surviving children (including legally adopted children), or surviving parents (including legal adoptive parents) of a decedent to file a wrongful death claim. Any of these individuals may file the claim themselves, or all of these eligible parties may choose to file the wrongful death claim together. Regardless of who is filing the claim, the case is brought on behalf of all surviving eligible family members, each of whom is entitled to a share of any recovery obtained in the wrongful death claim.
- If a surviving spouse, surviving child, or surviving parent does not bring a wrongful death claim within three months of the decedent’s death, then the personal representative of the decedent, usually the administrator or executor of the decedent’s estate, may then file the wrongful death claim. The claim is filed on behalf of all surviving eligible family members, unless the surviving spouse, surviving children, and surviving parents of the decedent object to the claim being filed.
Compensation in a Houston Wrongful Death Claim
No amount of money can undo what has happened. However, a wrongful death claim is intended to compensate the estate of the deceased individual along with the surviving eligible family members for personal and economic losses they have suffered due to the decedent’s passing. Compensation in a wrongful death claim in Texas may be sought for:
- Costs of medical treatment for last injury or illness caused by the at-fault party
- Funeral and burial costs
- Lost wages suffered by the decedent for the period between the onset of the last injury or illness and death
- Lost earning capacity or expected financial contributions to the family, including benefits such as health insurance and pensions
- Lost inheritance, or the value of assets the decedent reasonably would have saved and left to the surviving family member if the decedent had enjoyed a normal life expectancy
- Loss of the decedent’s care, maintenance and services, support, guidance, advice, and counsel
- Loss of the decedent’s love, comfort, companionship, and intimacy
- Conscious pain and suffering experienced by the decedent prior to death
- Emotional pain and anguish experienced by surviving family members
In rare cases where a decedent’s death is caused by egregious or shocking conduct, usually of a willful or reckless nature, you may also be awarded exemplary, or “punitive,” damages. This is not intended to compensate you for any loss. Rather, it is intended to “punish” the at-fault party for the conduct and to deter others from committing similar conduct in the future.
Compensation recovered in a wrongful death claim is usually distributed among the surviving eligible family members in direct proportion to the loss each family member suffered due to the decedent’s death.