Dealing with the unexpected death of a loved one is an unimaginably painful experience, and it is even more difficult to bear when the death was completely preventable, caused by the harmful actions of another party. Families in Texas who have lost a loved one have the right to demand compensation from the party that caused injury and death.
By partnering with a Midland wrongful death lawyer who has you and your family’s best interests at heart, you can be sure that your case will be handled with dignity and care, and will have the greatest chance for a successful, rightful outcome. In order to help you receive the compensation you need to recover losses on behalf of a loved one, your lawyer will work to prove elements that show the defendant’s negligence resulted in the decedent’s death.
What Your Lawyer Must Prove
Under Texas law, a wrongful death occurs when an injury causes a person’s death, the injury is caused by another entity’s wrongful act, and the decedent would have been entitled to file a personal injury lawsuit if they had survived. When wrongful death occurs, Texas state law allows that the surviving spouse, children, or the deceased’s parents can bring forward a wrongful death claim and recover damages.
Surviving siblings are not given the right to file a wrongful death claim under Texas law. Because wrongful death is the result of an act of negligence rather than a criminal action, your lawyer must be able to show that a failure to uphold a standard of care resulted in damages. In order to prove that negligence occurred, the following four elements must be demonstrated in a wrongful death claim:
- Duty of Care. To show that negligence occurred, it must first be established that the defendant owed a duty of care. This means, in simple terms, that the defendant had a duty to protect and keep another person safe, or to avoid doing anything that could cause harm. This duty of care is evident in situations such as a doctor-patient relationship, but it can be less obvious when there is no direct relationship between the defendant and the decedent—for example, when a defective product results in the user’s death.
- Breach of Care. A person breaches the duty of care when they fail to act in a prudent manner as a reasonable party would under the given circumstances. If a doctor delivers subpar medical care to a patient, they have breached the duty of care to which a patient is entitled. Similarly, if a person operating a vehicle does so while intoxicated, they have breached the duty of care owed to other drivers on the road around them.
- Causation. It must be shown that the actions of the defendant are what actually caused the decedent’s death. This can be more difficult to prove than the existence and breach of a duty of care. Your lawyer must carefully examine all details of the circumstances surrounding the death of the decedent in order to determine the definite cause. For example, while a drunk driver may have been involved in a crash that killed the driver of another vehicle, there may have been additional factors such as road conditions or faulty brakes that contributed to the accident, making it more difficult to prove the defendant’s liability.
- Damages. This element allows the plaintiff to be compensated for the harm caused them. The losses that are incurred with the death of a loved one can be challenging to quantify. Expenses such as medical bills and funeral and burial arrangement fees should be factored into the compensation amount. In many situations, the decedent’s income provided support for several family members, and recovering lost wages and future earnings is an essential step in the family’s ability to financially recover from the incident that resulted in the decedent’s death.
How Wrongful Death Can Occur
Wrongful death can occur under any circumstances in which a party’s wrongful act, neglect, or carelessness caused the injury and death of another person. Wrongful death claims are often filed against defendants who caused injury and death through one of the following ways:
- Medical malpractice
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Nursing home abuse or neglect
- Defective products
- Birth injuries
- Accidents that occur under supervised care (such as day care or elder care)
A Midland Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help
If you lost a loved one because of the negligent actions of another party, filing a wrongful death claim may be the best way for you and your family to make space to grieve, remember, and recover without focusing on the distress of financial losses. We know that for many families, attaining justice in the name of your loved one can be a way to honor and pay tribute, and a way to prevent a similar tragedy from happening to anyone else in the future.
Our team at Buckingham & Vega Law Firm has experience in handling wrongful death claims in Midland. If, after meeting to discuss your case, our team and your family mutually decide to partner and work through the legal proceedings of a wrongful death claim together, you can be sure that we will devote complete care, attention, respect, and legal competence to making sure you rightly recover damages. Contact our office to schedule a free initial consultation with a member of our team.