Houston Wrongful Death Lawyers
Who can file a wrongful death claim in Texas?
Texas law allows the surviving spouse, children and parents to bring claims for wrongful death when their relative has been killed due to the negligence of another. Additionally, the representative of the deceased is legally permitted to file a lawsuit and pursue damages on behalf of the dead person’s estate. These damages can be significant and provide another source of financial support for the person’s heirs – often small children.
There is nothing more painful in life than losing a loved one.
What makes it even worse is when the death is preventable.
We have seen so many of these situations.
Fatalities at work, employees who are:
- Not trained to perform their duties in dangerous work environments.
- Directed by management to operate production equipment in an unsafe, hazardous manner.
- Denied safe work conditions or over worked to the point where their life is at risk.
Loved ones who loose their lives in accidents from:
- Drunk drivers who kill while driving.
- Distracted drivers who text or use their smartphone on highways.
- 18 wheeler truck drivers with unsafe loads or who are fatigued or impaired.
What do we do in these cases?
Investigate every detail:
- Secure video surveillance, what does it show?
- Assess the work environment, was it unsafe?
- Did OSHA investigate? What does their report say?
Interview key people:
- Work colleagues, did they witness anything? Do they say the working conditions are dangerous?
- Safety manager, does the company have a history of safety problems and injured workers?
- Owner’s and senior managers, what is the work culture? Is employee safety a top priority?
Losing a loved one is an overwhelming experience. It is understandable that people become focused on their families and their emotional needs following a tragedy.
The hard reality is that if your loved one was lost in an accident, it is important to begin exploring a wrongful death case against the responsible parties as soon as possible. Evidence that could create accountability for an accidental death lawsuit often disappears. Witnesses’ memories become less clear.
Here we walk you through the process of a wrongful death legal action to answer questions we often hear from our clients and to explain how we will help you.
- Can I bring a wrongful death claim in Houston, Texas?
- Who can file a wrongful death claim in Texas?
- Why do people want to avoid thinking about a wrongful death claim?
- What needs to be done immediately after a loved one is killed?
- What are the types of wrongful death claims?
- What fatal accidents can be cause for a of wrongful death claim in Texas?
- What if the death happened at work?
- What is the statute of limitations for a wrongful death case in Texas?
Can I bring a wrongful death claim in Houston, Texas?
Yes. Our firm can determine which counties are proper to bring the lawsuit and decide which would be best for our clients. Our fouder, Michael P. Fleming, is Board Certified in Personal Injury Trial Law – a distinguished mark of excellence in the Texas legal community. We can handle wrongful death cases in any county in Texas.
A lawsuit for a wrongful death in Texas, including Houston, can be brought in any county where a defendant resides, or the principle office of a defendant company, or where the cause of action arose – such as the location of a car accident.
Generally, a cause of action arises where the accident, injury or death takes place. So if somebody is killed in Houston due to the negligence of another person or company, the lawsuit can be brought in the courts of Harris County or the county where the defendant lives.
Why do people want to avoid thinking about a wrongful death claim?
When a loved one is killed, it is natural to feel guilty about seeking legal advice or even thinking about filing a lawsuit over the death. However, sometimes it is important to act as soon as possible. It is the right thing to do.
Our attorneys understand the grief you and your loved ones are experiencing. We have helped many individuals and families through these types of situations, and we offer compassionate representation that is both effective and respectful of your family’s situation.
Proving negligence and suing for damages in a wrongful death case often requires immediate action on behalf of the victim and his or her family. Whenever there is a major accident resulting in the death of an individual, the insurance company for the negligent party immediately begins its defense case hoping that the family members will wait too long and hurt their chance to prove their right to compensation.
What needs to be done immediately after a loved one is killed?
When somebody is killed in an accident, the immediate family quite naturally does not want to think about hiring a lawyer or taking legal action. It is a completely normal and reasonable response. We have had clients contact us immediately after the incident and they feel guilty about doing so. When we explain that it might be important — very important — for the family and children to move forward sooner, they understand.
Working hard immediately to protect the rights of the spouse and children is important to us and sometimes it is necessary to take actions on a case right away.
Some of these actions if not taken right after the accident will be impossible later and this will hurt any wrongful death lawsuit. These actions include:
- Getting an autopsy. Often the cause of death is obvious and sometimes it is not. Furthermore, only an autopsy can give certain details regarding some of the circumstances surrounding the death. If the county does not perform an autopsy, a private one might need to be arranged. Obviously, there is only a limited time to have this performed.
- Preserving evidence. Evidence from the accident site is often discarded. Lost evidence can be a major hindrance to proving a wrongful death case so it is much better to preserve it immediately. Evidence can be physical evidence such as wreckage, video surveillance, skid marks, industrial equipment or anything that can be easily discarded.
- Getting a court order. Often it is necessary to obtain a court order to prevent important evidence from being destroyed by a defendant or insurance company that is trying to protect a defendant after a wrongful death.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
When somebody is killed due to the unnecessary negligence of another person or business, there are two types of claims that can be brought:
- A wrongful death suit can be filed on behalf of the surviving spouse, children and parents. These immediate family members are entitled by law to bring a lawsuit seeking mental anguish and other damages suffered as a result of the death of their loved one. In the case of small children, this is often the only opportunity to provide for their future and make up for the loss of their parent.
- A “survival” actions can be brought on behalf of the deceased. Claims can also be brought on behalf of the estate of the deceased person for their conscious pain and suffering prior to their death along with medical and funeral expenses. These damages then go into their estate and are distributed by law under their will or to their surviving heirs — often the surviving spouse, children and parents.
What fatal accidents can be cause for a wrongful death claim in Texas?
A wrongful death claim is brought pursuant to Texas statute and it is important to properly investigate to prove negligence. Some of the most common wrongful death lawsuits brought in Texas include fatal accidents involving:
What if the death happened at work?
The families of workers killed on the job have the same rights to bring a wrongful death claim – in some cases even if there is workers compensation coverage. We have helped many families who have lost a loved one killed at work. Usually, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) investigates deaths that occur on the job and their investigation can help determine liability.
What is the Statute of Limitations for wrongful death case in Texas?
Generally, the surviving family has two years to bring a lawsuit for wrongful death in the State of Texas. This can be extended in certain cases for minors.
However, despite there being two years to bring a lawsuit, it is usually better to seek legal advice and bring a lawsuit as soon as possible after the death.
Help For Those Who Have Lost Loved Ones To Fatal Accidents
At the personal injury and wrongful death law firm of Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. in Houston, Texas, our attorneys are highly skilled at constructing wrongful death cases that can hold the responsible parties accountable for the harm they have caused. By allowing our attorneys to help you and your loved ones, you will have the space necessary to focus on what matters most at such a difficult time while having the peace of mind that all appropriate action is being taken.
Why choose us to help you?
Attorney Michael P. Fleming has been providing the superior representation people can put their faith in for more than 27 years. During those years of service, he has earned an AV Preeminent rating* from Martindale-Hubbell. Michael P. Fleming’s career also includes having argued and won before the Supreme Court of the United States.
Contact The Wrongful Death Lawyers Of Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident, you need to choose an attorney with the skill and experience necessary to be able to help you create accountability and secure the full compensation you deserve. To schedule a free initial consultation with one of our wrongful death attorneys, call 713-221-6800, toll free at 888-529-0018 or contact us online.
We collect no fees until we obtain compensation for you.