Best Wrongful Death Lawyers San Antonio, TX Of 2024 – Forbes

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A wrongful death lawsuit is a type of personal injury claim. It is intended to reimburse surviving family for damages caused by the death of their loved one. For example, sudden financial burdens like funeral costs and medical bills can create an unfair burden when a loved one dies. You may also be able to recover for non-economic damages, such as loss of companionship.

Proving a wrongful death requires proof that a wrongdoer owed your deceased loved one a duty of care, failed to exercise that duty and the failure led to the damages you have suffered.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases

The statute of limitations is the time limit you have to file a wrongful death claim. In Texas, the statute of limitations for a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the death of your loved one. If the accident led to your loved one’s death in the days, months or years after the accident, the two year time period starts at the time of death, not after the accident date.

If you file your case after two years have run, a defendant may be able to have your claim dismissed for filing too late. Since the date can be difficult to pin down, it helps to have an experienced wrongful death lawyer evaluate your claim and ensure you don’t miss filing deadlines.

Texas Wrongful Death Laws

Wrongful death lawsuits are subject to many of the same laws that guide personal injury claims, but there are also some differences. Here are some of the primary laws to be aware of.

  • Right to file a wrongful death claim. A surviving spouse, child, or parent of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim. Additionally, a representative of the estate for the deceased may file a claim if none of the qualifying family members file within three months of the death.
  • Survival claims. Texas allows personal injury claims to survive the death of an injured person and the death of a wrongdoer. This essentially means that a deceased person’s heirs or estate representatives may pursue a personal  injury claim against a deceased wrongdoer as though the wrongdoer were alive. These claims are often used to cover damages such as debts or taxes owed by the deceased before their death.
  • Damage caps for medical malpractice. Medical malpractice claims, including those involving wrongful death, have limits on non-economic damages. The cap is usually $500,000, wth a limit of $250,000 for each claimant. Economic damages, such as for funeral or medical treatment expenses, are not subject to this cap.
  • Damage caps in other cases. If a wrongful death case is unrelated to medical malpractice, then damage caps do not apply. For example, if your loved one died in a car accident or in a workplace accident, then your claim should not be subject to caps on damages. However, recovery may be limited by the comparative negligence rules in Texas. These rules lower recovery if your loved one was partially at fault for the accident.

Wrongful Death Settlement Considerations

Most wrongful death cases settle without going to a trial. When a case settles, payments are typically distributed to the claimants after the lawyer’s fees are paid. Many Texas lawyers take wrongful death cases on contingency, meaning that you agree up front to pay them a percentage of any compensation from the case. This percentage varies, but is typically between 33.33% and 40%.

Most settlements are paid out by insurance companies, if the defendant in your case was insured. If the settlement is above what is covered by the insurance policy, then payments may come from both the insurance company and the defendant directly.

Once you receive payment from a wrongful death settlement, this money is not usually subject to U.S. taxes. Texas has no state laws taxing these settlements either.

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