Losing a loved one is extremely difficult. But then factor in circumstances that simply shouldn’t have happened, and the experience can move from troubling to infuriating. If your loved one’s death was the result of neglect, carelessness or lack of appropriate skill, a Houston, Texas, wrongful death attorney can help you file a lawsuit.
Defining Wrongful Death in Texas
Texas Statutes section 71 defines wrongful death and outlines who can be held liable for wrongful death.
“A person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.”
While the law states “a person” is liable, it also outlines that a person can be a company, entity, municipality, etc. It does not have to be an actual individual who is at fault for your loved one’s death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
The law further explains who can file a wrongful death claim in section 71.004. It outlines that the following individuals can file on behalf of a loved one:
In cases where these family members fail to file a wrongful death lawsuit within three months of the individual’s death, the deceased’s executor or administrator may bring about the lawsuit. While the executor has the right to file the wrongful death lawsuit, the spouse, child or parents of the deceased may request that they not file the wrongful death claim.
Siblings of the deceased are not permitted to file a wrongful death claim. Additionally, in cases where the spouse is filing the wrongful death claim, there must be a marriage license or proof of marriage. Common law marriages are not recognized in these circumstances.
Differences Between Criminal and Civil Cases
Depending on the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s case, there might be criminal charges involved. Even if the state is pursuing criminal charges against the at-fault party, you still have a right to file a lawsuit to pursue financial damages. Criminal and civil cases are handled separately as the end result differs greatly.
In criminal cases, the at-fault individual faces criminal charges, including possible imprisonment, fines, and other penalties. A civil case seeks financial restitution for the deceased’s family.
The Law Office of Roy Boujaoude is a Houston, Texas, wrongful death law firm. With in-depth experience in pursuing civil wrongful death cases, Roy will be a great ally and asset to you. We understand that this is a difficult time for you and your family and will treat your case with the care and attention it deserves.
Contact us for a free case evaluation to help you review and understand the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s wrongful death.