Best Wrongful Death Lawyers Fort Worth, TX Of 2024 – Forbes

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If your loved one has died unexpectedly, you may be wondering whether a wrongful death lawsuit is the right move. This type of legal action is meant to reimburse surviving family members for the financial burdens that can arise after a loved one’s death.

In order for a death to be considered a wrongful death, you must required to prove that a wrongdoer owed your loved one a duty of care, did not fulfill that duty and that failure led to financial damages. Damages can be economic, such as hospital bills or funeral expenses. They can also be non-economic, such as for the loss of your loved one’s companionship.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases

There are limits in Texas law for how long you have to file a lawsuit. This limit is called a statute of limitations. In wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations in Texas is two years from the date of death.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit when more than two years have passed since the death could result in the case being dismissed. When you are unsure of the deadline, an experienced wrongful death lawyer can evaluate your situation and help make sure you file in time.

Texas Wrongful Death Laws

Texas laws limit who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and also set out limits for how much can be awarded as damages in some cases. These are the main legal limits to consider before filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

  • Who can file a wrongful death claim? A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by a surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased. A representative of the deceased person’s estate may also file a claim if none of the qualifying family members file within three months of the death.
  • Personal injury claims by the estate. In Texas, a personal injury claim survives the death of an injured person or wrongdoer. This means that the deceased person’s qualifying family or representatives can bring a personal injury claim on behalf of the deceased person.
  • Medical malpractice damage caps. All medical malpractice lawsuits in Texas are limited by damage caps. Caps apply to non-economic damages, such as loss of companionship. The overall cap is $500,000 for these damages, with a limit of $250,000 for each claimant. The cap does not apply to economic damages, such as medical expenses or funeral costs. Wrongful death cases that are not due to medical malpractice are not subject to damage caps.
  • Comparative negligence. Recovery in a wrongful death case can be limited by Texas’ comparative negligence laws. These laws set proportionate responsibility for an incident that caused injury or death. In order to recover damages, the deceased person’s fault for the incident cannot exceed 50%. How much can be recovered is lessened by the percentage of fault assigned as well.

Wrongful Death Settlement Considerations

It is fairly common for wrongful death cases to settle. The payment for a settlement in a wrongful death case usually comes from an insurance company if the defendant in your case was insured. If the defendant was not insured, or if the settlement exceeds what the insurance policy covers, then some or all of the recovery may come from the defendant directly.

Once settled, damage payments are distributed after lawyers’ fees are deducted. Most Texas lawyers offer to take wrongful death cases on contingency. This means that they don’t bill you for services during the case but take a percentage of any compensation recovered on the case. The percentage may vary depending on the lawyer you hire and the complexity of the case, but a common range is 33.33% and 40%.

Wrongful death settlements are usually not subject to tax payments. Work with your tax professional to fully understand any tax liability. Texas state laws do not require state taxes on a wrongful death settlement.

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