Auto Accident Injury Lawyer Bill Berenson Explains the Process
After you lose a loved one, the last thing on your mind is filing a lawsuit. However a wrongful death case can help your family through the difficult aftermath of your family member’s death and bring justice when the negligent person or company has been held accountable.
I have been guiding families through this difficult legal, financial and emotional process for the past 35 years. My caring staff and I do whatever we can to lift the burden from your family to make the process of seeking justice as accessible, stress-free, and affordable as possible.
Who Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim?
The surviving spouse, children and parents have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Adopted children can file a claim regarding the death of their adoptive parents, but not their biological parents. Likewise, the adoptive parents have a claim concerning their adoptive child’s wrongful death. Siblings do not have the right to bring a wrongful death claim in Texas.
If no family member files a claim, the executor of an estate may file a wrongful death claim. Money recovered in the lawsuit goes to the estate and is distributed to the beneficiaries during the probate court process or by agreement. The court determines how the money is divided based upon the injuries each surviving relative suffered as a result of the death.
What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is based upon the underlying personal injury claim. To prevail on a wrongful death claim, you must prove all of the elements of the accident and that your loved one died directly as a result.
What Wrongful Death Damages are Recoverable?
Every case is different and may result in different amounts and types of damages. You may be compensated for such damages as:
- Medical bills for care for the fatal injury
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income and future anticipated earnings
- Lost benefits, including health insurance and pensions
- Lost inheritance expected by survivors had the deceased lived a normal life span
- Loss of advice, care, counsel, guidance, maintenance, services and support from the loved one
- Loss of comfort, companionship, love and society
- Pain and suffering experienced by the survivors
If the accident was caused by gross negligence or a willful act or omission, you may be entitled to punitive damages. Punitive damages are only reserved for special cases in which the court believes that punishing the defendant is appropriate. Severe limits on damages have been set by our state legislature.
Is There a Deadline for Filing?
Texas law imposes a two year statute of limitations on most wrongful death claims. It is imperative that the heirs file their claim within two years from the date of your loved one’s death. And since key evidence can disappear, the sooner suits are filed, the better.
How Can I Help Your Family?
Berenson Injury Law offers a free case analysis to determine whether you have a valid wrongful death claim. I also accept your case on contingency, meaning you do not owe lawyers’ fees unless I recover damages for you. We show your family the respect, privacy and compassion you deserve and fight to make sure the family is compensated for its damages.