Losing a loved one because of injuries caused by someone else's negligence is devastating in a variety of ways. At Stephens, Anderson, & Cummings, our Dallas wrongful death attorneys understand the grief and loss families experience after a wrongful death. That is why we are ready to file a wrongful death lawsuit to fight for fair compensation for all of the damages caused by your loss.
We have recovered numerous settlements for victims of negligence, including a $5.8 million settlement for the family of someone who died in an industrial accident and a $3.34 million settlement for the family of someone who died in a truck crash.
Our seasoned attorneys take these types of cases on a contingency fee basis. Under this arrangement, your consultation with our attorneys is entirely free and we do not charge legal fees unless you receive compensation. Contact us right away because we have a limited amount of time to pursue the justice you and your family are entitled.
What is Wrongful Death?
Our Dallas wrongful death attorneys cannot file a lawsuit unless we can prove that your loved one's death fits the definition of a wrongful death under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code 71.002. This law defines a wrongful death as one that was caused by the negligence of another person or entity. Negligence includes any of the follow actions, whether they were intentional or not:
- Wrongful acts
If we can prove that your loved one's death was the result of one of the types of negligence above, the person or entity who engaged in the act could be held financially responsible for any damages suffered by you and your loved ones.
These cases are not criminal matters, though sometimes both criminal charges and civil wrongful death lawsuits are brought against the same person.
Schedule a consultation with our wrongful death lawyers in Dallas today.
Texas Survival Statute
Many people are not aware that they may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit to obtain compensation for damages suffered by their loved one just before they died. This is called a survival action and it is explained in Section 71.021 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code.
This statute says that the cause of action for a personal injury does not become invalidated just because the victim died. Other state laws that apply to personal injury claims also apply to these cases.
If you lost a loved one because of negligence, contact a Dallas wrongful death lawyer today to determine your legal options. You may be able to pursue both a survival action and wrongful death lawsuit. Our goal is to help you obtain all of the compensation you deserve.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form right now.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
Under state law, the following family members are the only ones who have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- Legally-adopted children
- Adoptive parents, in certain situations
This means that no other family members can file a wrongful death claim, including aunts, uncles, cousins, brothers, sisters or grandparents.
Spouses, children and parents who have standing to file a lawsuit can file together or one of these individuals can file a lawsuit on his or her own. If your case is successful, compensation will be divided among the surviving family members based on their level of suffering.
If you are not sure whether you have legal standing to file a wrongful death case, contact our Dallas wrongful death attorneys for a free legal consultation. We can review your situation and determine all of your options.
Call an experienced attorney right now at (877) 920-9009.
Compensation for a Wrongful Death
At Stephens, Anderson & Cummings, we know that families dealing with grief are not focused on money. However, we also know that an unexpected death can cause serious financial problems for those who were financially dependent on the deceased. Our Dallas wrongful death attorneys want your family to be fairly compensated to help prevent a financial catastrophe.
We can pursue compensation for three types of damages caused by your loved one's wrongful death:
These are all of the forms of compensation that have a defined economic value, including:
- Lost earning capacity – This refers to the loss of the income of the deceased. Our attorneys will pursue compensation for the amount of money your loved one likely would have earned if he or she had not died.
- Lost inheritance – This covers the savings, retirement and insurance benefits you would have had access to if your loved one had lived.
- Medical expenses – This covers all of the medical expenses your loved one incurred prior to his or her death. We can pursue these in a wrongful death action or survival action.
- Funeral costs – If we are successful, we should be able to obtain compensation for reasonable funeral and burial expenses for your loved one. We know how important this form of compensation is because a funeral and burial can be very expensive.
These are all of the forms of compensation that do not have a defined economic value. This covers the physical and emotional effects of your loved one's loss, such as:
- Loss of care, maintenance, services, support, advice and counsel – This refers to the psychological and emotional losses of your loved one's death. For instance, you can no longer receive advice or emotional support from your loved one. This person also cannot provide the services he or she used to, such as helping out around the house.
- Pain and suffering – This covers the physical and emotional pain and suffering experienced by the family and also the victim. For instance, the victim may have experienced emotional anguish knowing that he or she was about to die. Family members can also experience depression and other emotional problems as they try to deal with their loss.
- Loss of love, companionship, comfort and social dependence – This is often for losses experienced by the spouse. For instance, the spouse loses the love and physical and emotional relationship with the deceased.
Unlike the two categories above, these damages are not based on a physical, mental or emotional loss experienced by the victim's loved ones. These are intended as a form of punishment and to hopefully deter other people from engaging in conduct similar to the defendant.
Punitive damages are reserved for cases where our wrongful death attorneys in Dallas can prove with clear and convincing evidence that the deceased was killed due to fraud, malice or gross negligence, according to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 41.003. It is tough to prove any of those things and that is why these damages are only awarded in rare cases.
Another reason it is tough to obtain punitive damages is that they can only be awarded when the jury issues a unanimous ruling about the amount of damages and whether fraud, malice or gross negligence occurred.
Our attorneys are dedicated to helping your family get all of the compensation it deserves as you attempt to move forward. We will conduct a thorough investigation to determine all of the forms of compensation you deserve and a fair value of each of those forms of compensation.
Contact a wrongful death lawyer in Dallas today at (877) 920-9009.
Caps on Damages in Wrongful Death Cases
Texas places caps on certain types of compensation in wrongful death cases. Your case could also be subject to a cap depending on who caused your loved one's death.
Punitive damages cannot exceed one of the following two amounts, whichever is greater:
- Twice the amount of economic damages plus an amount equal to the amount of noneconomic damages, not to exceed $750,000
Wrongful death claims against government entities are subject to the following damage caps, according to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 101.023:
- State and municipal government – Monetary damages cannot exceed $250,000 for each claimant, up to a maximum of $500,000 for each case.
- Local governments – in lawsuits against local governments, monetary damages are capped at $100,000 for each person up to a maximum of $300,000 for each case.
- Emergency service organizations – These include volunteer fire departments, rescue squads, and certain emergency medical services providers. In these cases, damages are capped at $100,000 per person and $300,000 per case.
Our attorneys are committed to building a strong case as we attempt to recover the maximum compensation for your claim within these limitations.
What is the Deadline for Filing a Lawsuit?
There is a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death lawsuit because of Texas' statute of limitations on these cases. If you do not file a case before this deadline expires, you will lose the right to do so.
According to the wrongful death statute of limitations, these cases must be filed within two years of your loved one's death. If none of the parties who have standing to file a lawsuit do so within three months of the victim's death, the executor of the deceased's estate can file a case. Any family members who have standing to sue can block the executor's lawsuit at any point.
Survival actions are governed by the statute of limitations for personal injury cases. This statute begins on the date your loved one was injured and ends within two years.
These statutes can expire much faster than you think so it is crucial to contact an attorney right away. Our Dallas wrongful death lawyers will work to ensure your case is filed before the applicable statute of limitations expires.
Fill out a Free Case Evaluation form today to schedule your free consultation.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Our Dallas Wrongful Death Attorneys
Our trusted lawyers have represented many families just like yours, who need support while dealing with their grief and devastating loss.
Our wrongful death attorneys in Dallas know that families are suffering, which is why we offer a free consultation with an attorney who will discuss the merits of your claim. We never ask for up-front fees, and only get paid if there is a recovery on your case.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone's reckless or negligent behavior, call (877) 920-9009 to find out how we can help.