Best Wrongful Death Lawyers Dallas, TX Of 2024 – Forbes

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Wrongful death lawsuits are meant to reimburse surviving family members for their damages when a loved one is killed due to someone else’s negligence. This often includes reimbursement for economic damages, such as medical bills or funeral arrangements. It can also include recovery for non-economic damages, such as loss of companionship.

To prove that a death was wrongful, you need to establish several factors: that someone owed your loved one a duty of care, that they failed to meet that duty of care, and that their actions led to the damages you have suffered.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases

Wrongful death cases must be filed in Texas within two years from the date of death. This requirement comes from the statute of limitations that applies to personal injury claims, including wrongful death claims. Keep in mind that the two years run from the date of death, not from the date of an accident that may have led to the death.

Failing to file your wrongful lawsuit before the statute of limitations has run can lead to your case being dismissed. Identifying when your case must be filed is one of the things a wrongful death lawyer can help you sort out.

Texas Wrongful Death Laws

Texas has several laws that impact wrongful death lawsuits. The primary laws you should consider include the following:

  • Limits on who can file. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by a surviving spouse, child or parent of the deceased. If none of these qualifying family members file within three months of the death, then a representative of the deceased’s estate may also file.
  • Survival claims by the estate. When a person dies following an incident that would have given them a right to a personal injury claim, the estate of that person retains the right to pursue that claim. Essentially, this means that a personal injury case can go forward even if one of the parties is deceased.
  • Medical malpractice damage caps. Most wrongful death cases in Texas are not subject to caps on the amount you can recover. However, medical malpractice claims are capped at $500,000, with a limit of $250,000 per claimant. These caps apply only to non-economic damages. Economic damages, such as medical expenses or funeral costs, are not subject to the cap.
  • Proportionate responsibility. Wrongful death cases, like personal injury claims, require the court to establish fault for the incident that caused the injury or death. In order to recover any damages, you must show that the deceased was 50% or less at fault for the incident. The amount that can be recovered can also be decreased by the fault percentage. This is a result of comparative negligence rules in Texas.

Wrongful Death Settlement Considerations

It is common for wrongful death cases to settle before going to trial. Once a settlement has been finalized, compensation is disbursed to claimants after deductions for attorney’s fees.

In Texas, many attorneys take on wrongful death cases on contingency. This means that they are paid a percentage of any compensation they obtain for you. The percentage amount can vary by attorney and may be higher for more complicated cases. It usually runs between 33.33% and 40%.

Settlement compensation is often paid out by insurance companies in wrongful death cases. If the defendant was not insured, or if the settlement is for more than was covered by the insurance policy, then the defendant may be required to pay directly.

Wrongful death settlements are not subject to U.S. taxes in most cases. Discussing your case with a tax expert to understand any tax liability entirely is best. Texas does not tax wrongful death settlements through state law.

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