Wrongful Death Cases Explained
Our Experience in Wrongful Death Cases
Evidence Neccesssary to Win
Who is Eligible to File
Can a Parent Sue for Losing a Child?
Can a Sibling Pursue a Wrongful Death Case?
Can a Spouse File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Can a Child Sue for Losing a Parent?
How Texas’ Wrongful Death Law Works
WD Cause of Action “Borrows” from Other CoA
Texas Wrongful Death Laws
Texas Survival Statute
Does an Estate Have to Be Established?
What is an Estate?
Does a Will Affect a Wrongful Death Case?
Common types of Wrongful Death Cases
Wrongful Death Claims Against the City of Houston
Wrongful Death Claims Against the City of Galveston
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » Can a Sibling File a Wrongful Death Claim?
If Your Brother or Sister has Been Wrongfully Killed, You may Have Options to Bring a Claim Against Those Responsible
When a person passes away in Houston, Texas, can a surviving sibling (brother or sister) file a wrongful death claim based on their deceased brother or sister’s death? The short answer is not exactly. Under the law here in Texas, people cannot normally file wrongful death claims based on their siblings’ deaths, although exceptions exist. Also, people can and often do act as the executors of their siblings’ estates and file claims that are similar and parallel to wrongful death claims – these are called survival claims.
When a brother or sister passes away due to an accident caused by someone else, surviving siblings are often left grieving, confused, and with no one to turn to. If your sibling is killed in an accident or due to someone else’s misconduct, turn to Our Law Offices. We are veteran Texas injury lawyers with long track records of success for injured men, women and children and their surviving family members.
Who can bring a wrongful death claim in Texas? The Texas Wrongful Death Statute defines the class of people who can: the deceased person’s surviving children, spouse and parents. These three groups of people are the only three allowed to benefit from a wrongful death claim. They are known as the “wrongful death heirs.” So, if an adult man is killed in a traffic accident in Houston, his wife, children, and surviving parents if any can all be plaintiffs in the wrongful death claim based on his death. Minor children (kids under 18 years old) are incapable of bringing legal claims on their own and must be represented by someone in court: normally their living parent or another representative chosen by the court.
A Sibling’s Rights
So, siblings normally do not have the right to benefit from wrongful death claims when their brothers and sisters are killed. What rights do siblings have? Siblings often represent their deceased brothers’ and sisters’ estates in claims that are similar to wrongful death claims called survival claims. While wrongful death claims complain about the injuries the wrongful death heirs suffer personally (the harm is done to the parents, spouses, and children), survival claims complain about the harm done to the decedent (deceased person). The decedent’s own injuries are said to survive the decedent’s death and form the basis of the survival claim.
Houston wrongful death lawsuit attorney
Also, the Texas Wrongful Death Statute requires estate representatives to file wrongful death claims on behalf of the wrongful death heirs if the heirs themselves do not do so, unless all the wrongful death heirs ask the estate representative not to. So if a sibling represents an estate, the sibling not only can but must file a wrongful death claim.
Interestingly, when a sibling-executor files a survival claim and a wrongful death claim, those claims do not necessarily benefit the sibling. The proceeds from a wrongful death claim still benefit the wrongful death heirs, even if the executor brings the claim. And the survival claim benefits whoever the decedent selects in his or her will; with no will, the laws of Texas intestate succession govern who gets what from the decedent’s estate, possibly the siblings and possibly not.
Our Law Offices
Our Law Offices can help you and your family makes sense of these complicated issues regarding wrongful death cases. Each case is different: trust a lawyer with skill in this area to advise and represent you for Houston-area accidents and wrongful deaths. Trust Our Law Offices and our team: you can reach us at toll-free.
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » The Survival Statute in Texas vs. Other States
How Does Texas’ Survival Statute Compare to That of Other States?
If the negligent conduct of another party has resulted in the loss of a loved one or someone significant in your life, it can be heartbreaking. Not only do you have to deal with the reality of that person no longer being in your life, but you may also have incurred a great deal of financial responsibility in the aftermath. You may not be aware of this but in the state of Texas there is a cause of action available to you that can allow you to recover for the losses that you have suffered in losing this person and the financial strife that has resulted. This is possible through what is called the Texas Survival statute.
The Texas Survival statute is available to the representatives or family members of a person who has become deceased due to some tortuous act of another party. In order to file this lawsuit there are certain elements that must be established that are prerequisites to your recovery. The different procedural and evidentiary factors in this claim can be difficult to comprehend if you are not familiar with them. It would be to your detriment to attempt to seek recovery for your losses through a survival action without skilled legal assistance. This is why it is in your best interests to retain an attorney that has familiarity with these types of theories of recovery. The attorneys at Our Law Offices have been handling survival actions for 22 years and have a great deal of knowledge and experience on how these claims are usually litigated to ensure that you receive the maximum compensation that your truly deserve.
What is the Texas Survival Statute?
The Texas Survival Statute permits an estate, legal representative or heirs of the deceased to bring a survival cause of action. The logic behind the name ‘survival’ is that is basically allows a personal injury lawsuit to survive the death of the party that suffered the injury. Under this theory of liability, you can recover damages in the form of funeral expenses, medical expenditures, lost wages and loss of companionship or affection. There are certain time limitations at work in survival actions that must be strictly adhered to or your ability to bring this lawsuit will extinguish entirely.
How is the Texas Survival Statute Different Than Those in Other States?
The primary differences that may exist between the Texas Survival Statute when compared to survival statutes in other states is who may bring the cause of action and what may be inevitably recoverable. In Texas the statute only allows specific individuals to recover under this action. Only an heir or some representative of the estate is allowed to bring this theory of recovery on behalf of the deceased party.
In addition, under the Texas Survival Statute, the estate may recover for all of the damages that the deceased would have been permitted to recover if he/she were still alive. Essentially you can recover for the pain and suffering, medical expenses and lost earning capacity and wages that the deceased could have recovered if they had survived.
Survival causes of action can be confusing because of the fact that you are bringing a claim on behalf of a person that is no longer living. Therefore the elements of proof can be slightly complex. However, with the assistance of an attorney that has handled many of these personal injury survival actions, you will be in good hands. That is exactly what we can offer you at Our Law Offices. You should not be forced to live with the emotional tragedy of your loss and be burdened indefinitely with mounting medical bills. You deserve to be compensated for your loss. To discuss your claim, contact the attorneys at Our Law Offices.
Wrongful Deaths and Setting Up an Estate
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » Wrongful Deaths and Setting Up an Estate
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The Importance of Setting up an Estate Following the Wrongful Death of a Loved One
Houston wrongful death lawsuit
If you’ve recently experienced the death of a loved one due to the negligent actions of another, you likely have several questions regarding your ability to recover compensation for the economic and emotional hardships that resulted from their death. Specifically, you may be wondering if you will need to set up an estate before filing a wrongful death lawsuit. However, before discussing if Texas law requires you to set up an estate, we need to determine if you’re eligible to file a claim by first defining what a wrongful death case is.
What is a Wrongful Death Case?
Texas’ legislature and courts have adopted and interpreted laws that outline a family’s ability to recover compensation for the injuries they’ve suffered if their loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions. Moreover, damages recoverable under Texas’s wrongful death laws are classified into two categories: economic and non-economic. However, it’s important to note that not every family member is eligible to assert a wrongful death lawsuit to recover for the negative economic and emotional damages they’ve suffered. Specifically, Texas law only allows spouses, children, and parents of the deceased to assert wrongful death claims. Now that we have defined eligibility for asserting a wrongful death case, we can discuss whether an estate needs to be set up before filing any wrongful death claims.
Do you Need to Set Up an Estate to File a Wrongful Death Case?
In a word, no – Texas law does not require a person to set up an estate for their deceased family member before filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This is because the claims asserted in a wrongful death case are designed to compensate the effected family member for the personal effects they’ve experienced from their loved one’s death. To illustrate, eligible family members that relied on the financial and emotional support of their loved one who is killed in a car accident by a drunk driver have been personally wronged by the drunk driver, and their claims are considered separate under Texas’ wrongful death laws.
Is There Any Scenario Where I Would Need to Set Up an Estate to Recover Damages Related to the Death of My Loved One?
Although not required for wrongful death claims, an estate needs to be set up to recover compensation for a “survival” claim. Survival claims are designed to compensate the deceased (which, for all practical purposes, compensates his estate) for the injuries he suffered before his death. As the deceased is no longer alive, he is no longer able to assert a lawsuit, and needs the estate (the legal representative of his interests after his death), to file a lawsuit on his behalf.
For example, assume that the decedent died after spending several months in the hospital attempting to recover from injuries caused by a defective product. An estate will need to be set up on his behalf to recover for the pain, suffering, disfigurement, mental anguish, and any other claims he could have asserted on his own behalf had he survived his injuries and been released from the hospital.
Our Experienced Houston Wrongful Death Attorneys May be Able to Help You Get the Compensation You Deserve
As you may have already concluded, retaining an experienced wrongful death attorney is absolutely essential to obtaining full compensation for the injuries you and you’ve family have suffered as a result of your loved one’s death.
If you would like more information regarding how our firm may be able to help you obtain the compensation you deserve and pursue justice against the person responsible for your loved one’s death, our experienced wrongful death attorneys invite you to give them a call any time, day or night, for a free consultation.
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » What is an Estate?
An Individual’s Estate in Relation to a Wrongful Death Case in Texas
Several states have different ways that they treat wrongful death actions and the distribution of recovery through the estate or to the individuals bringing the actions themselves. Knowing how and to whom to distribute estate assets and wrongful death recoveries can be a complex process. The attorneys at Our Law Offices have substantial experience in bringing wrongful death causes of action. We have a record of success in these claims, we also have considerable amount of experience in distributing the proceeds of these claims. Knowing who is entitled to what in a wrongful death recovery is part of the process to ensure that the victims are full compensated.
An individual’s estate is created at the time of their passing. It is basically a legal entity in itself which includes the deceased’s property, whether real or personal, owned at the time of death. It is designed to account for all the assets of the deceased, and then pay all the debts of the deceased through his assets. After this time any remaining assets will be distributed to the heirs of the deceased. An individual’s estate generally goes through probate, this is essentially a closing out process to tie up any lose ends of that the deceased individual may have had. It is here that the deceased’s creditors may come and make their claims to be reimbursed the amount they were owed. Estates will have an executor who will oversee the distribution of the estate.
If the deceased was the owner of a life insurance policy that did not name a beneficiary, the proceeds of the life insurance policy would also be distributed through the estate of the deceased. If the life insurance policy named a beneficiary, the distribution of the proceeds of the policy would be distributed to the named individual.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?
In Texas a wrongful death cause of action can be brought by the family members of the deceased. The family members who generally are able to recover for the wrongful death of one of their family members are generally the parents, children, and spouses of the deceased. Some states only permit the executor of the deceased’s estate to bring a wrongful death claim on behalf of the family. The family members and other individuals named in the will do not have the right to veto a settlement agreement, although the court is required to approve any settlement agreement.
Who Can Receive Benefits?
Unlike some states, Texas distributes the benefits received from wrongful death causes of actions to the individuals who brought the claim, not the individuals, who were named as beneficiaries of the estate. Your wrongful death recovery will not be hindered by the debts of the deceased.
Texas Survival Statute
The Texas survival statute is different than a wrongful death claim. This statute allows an estate, heirs or legal representative to bring a survival action. This is different because the suit seeks the damages that an individual would have recovered for their injuries had they survived. While wrongful death claims seek damages that the people asserting claims lost, such as love and affection, lost wages, and lost future earning capacity. The damages that would be sought in a survival statute claim would be things such as lost wages, medical bills, property damage, funeral expenses and the like. Any recovery under the survival statutes will be disbursed to the estate rather than the any individual. These recoveries will be subject to the debts of the deceased and would go through the probate process as with the rest of their assets.
Did You Know?
Our Houston wrongful death attorneys have won thousands of cases. Call us today to discuss your case.
If you have a wrongful death action you need an attorney that knows how to work with the estate of the deceased. The attorneys at Our Law Offices has a world of experience in these claims, we know how to recover for you claim and who should be compensated afterwards.
If you want representation that produces results, contact Our Law Offices at to schedule your free consultation.
Houston Personal Injury Lawyers » How a Will Affects a Wrongful Death Case
How Does the Will of the Decedent Affect a Wrongful Death Case?
Losing a loved one in the Houston area due to someone else’s wrongdoing is a traumatic experience. You are probably thinking that if you file a wrongful death claim, will the money that you receive for your loss be affected by your loved one’s will? These are tough times and there are a lot of decisions that need to be made and expenses that need to be paid. Speak with an experienced attorney today to discuss your wrongful death claim.
In a wrongful death lawsuit, a will does not affect the compensation that is awarded to a surviving family member. They are filed by a surviving family member of the deceased who died because of someone else’s negligence. Even if this person is not listed in the will, the surviving family member can receive compensation from the lawsuit. The compensation is going directly to the family member and not the estate.
The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the surviving family member for the loss of their loved one. A surviving family member is a parent, spouse, or a child. However, the executor of the will may file on behalf of the estate if the surviving family member does not file within a certain amount of time.
Survival Cause of Action and Damages
A survival cause of action is different than a wrongful death cause of action because a will drafted by the deceased can affect it. A survival cause of action allows the estate of the deceased to bring a lawsuit to recover for the damages that the deceased would have recovered if they survived the accident.
If the deceased drafted a will, then the executor of the estate, who is named in the will, can bring a survival cause of action. Not the family. The executor represents the estate and will collect damages that is owed to the estate. If the deceased did not draft a will, then a court will appoint an executor or a legal representative to represent the estate in the lawsuit.
The survival damages that are awarded to the estate are funeral, burial expenses and medical bills just like in a wrongful death case. In order to recover for mental anguish and physical pain, the estate must prove that the deceased suffered pain before death and was conscious at the time. If the deceased died instantly and lost conscious immediately then recovery of compensation will not be awarded.
Brief Overview of How a Will Works
A will, or a last will and testament, is a legal document created by you giving instructions on how to distribute tangible and intangible items throughout one’s estate after death. It also allows for you to identify your beneficiaries. A beneficiary can be the person(s) that you are giving your property to. A will also provides for an executor to be appointed. This person is the one who manages your estate, pays out debts owed and other expenses that need to be handled.
To have a valid will you must be 18 years of age, be competent, have testamentary intent, and it must be in writing. Texas requires that the writing of the will can come in two forms. The first is called an attested will. This means that your will was in writing, signed by you or someone that you appointed to sign your will and you have two witnesses. The other form is a holographic will meaning that the will was written in your own handwriting, signed by you and you do not need any witnesses. The attested will is the most common will.
The attorneys at Our Law Offices understand that losing a loved one is a painful experience. Our attorneys dedicate their time and effort to making the person pay for causing the death of your loved one. Our attorneys have been litigating wrongful death cases for over two decades and have been affording Houstonians with adequate legal services that they deserve. There is a time limit to file a wrongful death claim so do not wait to call us. Contact our office today at to receive a free consultation. Allow our attorneys to bring you the closure that you are seeking.