wrongful death

Texas Wrongful Death Attorneys Putting People First

Helping grieving loved ones in their time of need in Austin, Dallas, and Fort Worth

The passing of a loved one is a time of immeasurable grief and sadness. When a death is unexpected, or if the loss was caused by wrongdoing, recklessness, or negligence, feelings of pain, anger, and shock can seem overwhelming. The impact on the survivors is lifelong and can be monumental, both in terms of the emotional toll and future financial hardship.

While there is no way to put a price on a person’s life, an experienced wrongful death attorney can help you seek just compensation and hold those who are responsible accountable for your unimaginable loss. The caring attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger can help you focus on personal matters while we handle the legal aspects, so you can get the closure and security you need to move forward. We understand the intricacies of these complex cases and can ensure you recover costs from medical bills, funeral and burial costs.

“Thank you again for all of your good help. Since losing Nick, the love of my life, it has been an emotional roller coaster…Through this law case, your efficient and thoughtful communications have been very kind and helpful. You have performed your job perfectly.” – Sandra T., Client

What is wrongful death?

A wrongful death claim or lawsuit is a civil action used to hold accountable those who were responsible for your loved one’s death. This action is separate from any criminal charges and resulting case, and these claims can be made against individuals, companies and even multiple parties.

When someone dies because of someone else’s negligence or wrongful act, the surviving family members often incur expenses related to the death, either immediately or within a short amount of time. These costs can include hospital or medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, any property damage related to the death (as in the case of a car accident), and short-term lost wages. How these losses are calculated may depend on whether the victim was an adult or a child.

Depending upon local laws, the surviving spouse, children and parents of the deceased may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The experienced wrongful death attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger can guide you on which family members are able to pursue a lawsuit.

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What types of wrongful death claims does your firm handle?

After your family is dealt the painful blow of a loved one’s death in an accident, you may not know where to turn. You may be overwhelmed with grief, yet you also want to seek justice and hold those responsible accountable for your loss.  The lawyers at Slack Davis Sanger have a successful track record securing justice and accountability in a variety of wrongful death cases, including:

The legal team at Slack Davis Sanger are well versed in all legal avenues to pursue a wrongful death claim and hold the responsible parties accountable for the tragic death of your loved one.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Texas?

Not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Texas has specific requirements regarding who can file a claim after someone loses their life from a preventable act or accident. Here in Texas, surviving immediate family members may have the right to compensation after the wrongful death of a loved one, as well as the deceased person’s spouse. This includes same-sex spouses and those either legally married or legally recognized as having been involved in a common-law marriage with the decedent (the person who died).

The decedent’s parents are also considered immediate family members, whether they are biological or adoptive. Step-parents and foster parents, however, do not normally have the legal right in Texas to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. The children of the decedent can also file a wrongful death claim, whether they are legally minors or adults, and whether they are biological or adopted.

Other family members, such as siblings, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, generally do not have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas, unless they have been legally appointed as the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. The same is true of others close to the decedent, such as close friends, housemates, a romantic partner, or even a fiancé.

If you have questions about whether you are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of your loved one, the attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger are happy to answer them.

How do you prove a wrongful death claim?

In a wrongful death claim, the family of the decedent must prove negligence, causation, and damages in order to obtain a favorable outcome. The claim must first establish that a careless or negligent act of another person or party resulted in fatal injuries. For example, a tire manufacturer could be found guilty of wrongful death for putting a defective product on the market that caused a driver to lose control and crash.

Proof of negligence in a wrongful death case requires demonstrating there has been a breach of duty. This means that the claimant must show that the defendant had some responsibility to protect the deceased from harm. For example, a helicopter pilot who chooses to fly in unsafe conditions may be found guilty of wrongful death if that decision put passengers in danger.

Duty of care means a person or party either acts in a way that is deemed unreasonable or fails to act when doing so would avoid harm. There are different levels of care for different types of activities. For example, an employer that requires workers to handle hazardous substances on a regular basis has a different standard of care than in other workplaces. Different types of defendants also have different requirements for “ordinary care”. A landowner, for instance, is responsible for keeping a property safe for renters and guests so that dangerous condition of the property doesn’t create a risk bodily harm inside their apartment or on the grounds.

Claimants must also show causation, which is done by connecting negligence to a person’s death. In a fatal car accident, for example, a wrongful death attorney must prove that a trucker falling asleep at the wheel was directly related to their semi crossing into another lane and colliding head-on with an oncoming vehicle, causing fatal traumatic brain injuries. A wrongful death claim also involves exploring the suffering and losses incurred as a result of the accident, which can be both financial and emotional. These expenses can include loss of future income, medical costs, and pain and suffering for the surviving family members.

How can a Texas wrongful death claim lawyer help me?

Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience. Having qualified and caring legal counsel like the team at Slack Davis Sanger on your side can make all the difference as you navigate the wrongful death legal process. Having an experienced wrongful death attorney is critical. We understand that many of these cases can be complex, and we can help explain every step of the process.

Even when death is involved, not all negligence is a crime. For example, police will not usually arrest a doctor who commits malpractice that leads to death. Even if a crime was committed, such as drunk driving, the prosecutor is working to protect the general public, not compensate you for your losses. Our goal is to ensure your family secures the compensation to which you’re entitled.

For most people, the sudden loss of a loved one can be financially devastating. If the deceased was the major breadwinner in the home, the surviving family members may not have the income to pay the mortgage and the rest of the bills. Medical and funeral bills can also cost tens of thousands of dollars. A wrongful death lawsuit can help take the financial burden off your shoulders by covering your expenses, as well as lost income and pain and suffering.

Additionally, insurance companies typically attempt to offer a low, quick settlement to close out a claim and avoid a lawsuit. An experienced wrongful death attorney knows how to handle insurance companies and work to secure you a fair settlement. Remember, Texas has a statute of limitations of two years for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. A successful outcome takes time, and filing your claim as soon as possible helps achieve that.

Texas wrongful death lawyers helping families

After the unexpected and tragic loss of a loved one, it can be difficult for surviving family members to know what to do next, or how to proceed if the death was caused by someone else’s negligence or intentionally harmful act. The attorneys at Slack Davis Sanger have been successfully representing bereaved family members in wrongful death lawsuits for decades. To schedule a free consultation at one of our offices in Austin, Dallas, or Fort Worth, please call 800-455-8686 or fill out our contact form.