Houston Wrongful Death Attorneys
Wrongful Death Laws in Texas
When someone you love passes away as a result of someone else’s careless, reckless, or wrongful conduct, you deserve justice. In addition to possible criminal penalties, the liable party could be made to pay for your damages, including both financial costs and intangible losses resulting from your loved one’s death.
At The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC, our Houston wrongful death attorneys believe in holding negligent and reckless parties accountable, especially when their actions result in the death of another human being. We know that no amount of financial compensation can ever make up for the loss your family has endured, but we have also seen firsthand how a fair settlement or verdict can provide the much-needed resources families need to heal.
Defining “Wrongful Death”
In Texas, a “wrongful death” occurs when a person dies due to an injury caused by someone else’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” In other words, if someone else—whether another person, a company, or some other entity—was to blame for the incident or injury that led to the person’s death, the death is legally considered “wrongful.”
Wrongful death cases often arise from the following incidents:
- Car accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Truck accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Pedestrian accidents
- Construction accidents
- Unsafe premises
- Workplace accidents
Generally speaking, if the person who died (known as the “decedent” in wrongful death cases) would have been able to file a personal injury claim or lawsuit had he or she lived, their death is likely considered wrongful in the eyes of the law.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
The following individuals may file a wrongful death claim in Texas:
- The decedent’s surviving spouse
- The decedent’s surviving children
- The decedent’s surviving parents
These individuals may file a claim separately or jointly, but if they do not bring a claim within three months of the date of death, the personal representative (or “executor”) of the decedent’s estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, if the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and parents all request that no claim be made, the personal representative does not have the right to bring a claim.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims are civil legal actions, separate from any criminal proceedings that may or may not occur. The purpose of filing a wrongful death lawsuit is to seek monetary compensation for certain losses, or “damages,” resulting from the death.
In Texas, it is possible to recover the following economic and non-economic damages in a wrongful death claim:
- Medical expenses related to the decedent’s final care
- Funeral and/or burial expenses
- Lost income and/or earning capacity
- The surviving family members’ mental pain, anguish, and suffering
- Loss of expected inheritance, including future contributions
- Loss of services and support the decedent would have provided
- Loss of care, companionship, comfort, advice, counsel, love, society, etc.
In some cases, it may be possible to recover punitive, or “exemplary,” damages. Unlike the compensatory damages mentioned above, punitive damages are not intended to compensate surviving family members for specific economic and/or non-economic losses. Instead, they are meant to punish the defendant for gross negligence or willful acts leading to the death of another person.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
The amount of time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit is limited by the state’s statute of limitations. In Texas, the statute of limitations on wrongful death cases is two years from the date of death. This means that you have only two years to sue the liable party for damages. If you fail to bring your lawsuit before the statute of limitations expires, you will almost certainly lose your right to recover damages.
Contact Our Compassionate Wrongful Death Attorneys to Learn More
At The Shellist Law Firm, PLLC, we wish to extend our sincerest condolences if you and your family are currently struggling with the loss of a loved one. We also want to help you seek the justice you rightfully deserve. Our Houston wrongful death lawyers are prepared to help you navigate the legal process and will work tirelessly to hold the liable party accountable for the immense pain, suffering, and trauma you and your family have endured.
We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to assist you, and we offer free initial consultations in person, over the phone, and via video conferencing for your convenience. We do not collect any legal fees unless/until we win your case.
Car Accident $20,000,000
Illegal Sexual Recording $800,000
Dog Attack $750,000
Oil Rig Settlement $2,000,000.00
Car Accident $300,000
Practicing Law for Two DecadesHaving practiced law for 20 years, you can be confident attorney Steve Shellist can successfully handle your case.
Extensive Trial ExperienceAs a former chief prosecutor, Mr. Shellist knows how to present a compelling case in front of a jury.
Highly Personalized RepresentationAt Shellist Law, we believe every case requires tailored representation in order to achieve the best possible outcome for the client.
Legal Analyst on ABC-13Over the years, Mr. Shellist has been called on by ABC-13 News to share his expertise on many newsworthy cases.