Unique Aspects of Collin County Wrongful Death Cases
While a wrongful death lawsuit falls under personal injury law, these types of cases differ from typical civil claims in several ways. Most of these differences are by necessity, since the party who would normally have grounds to file suit is deceased, but it is still important to be aware of them if you want to successfully pursue compensation on a loved one’s behalf. The best way to understand all the unique aspects of Collin County wrongful death cases is to speak about them in person with a qualified local lawyer.
Limitations on Who May File Suit
Unlike in most personal injury cases, if a person loses their life due to someone else’s negligence, they cannot file suit on their own behalf. Therefore, that responsibility instead falls to a living person acting on the decedent’s behalf. However, local law imposes strict restrictions on who can actually file and directly benefit financially from a wrongful death case.
According to Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code §71.004, only the spouse, children, and parents of a deceased individual have grounds to pursue wrongful death litigation on the decedent’s behalf either individually or together as a family. If no qualified family members are available, the right to file suit passes to the executor or administrator of the decedent’s estate. Notably, siblings of a deceased accident victim cannot file wrongful death claims in Texas.
Wrongful Death Damages Versus Survival Damages
Another unique aspect of wrongful death cases in Collin County has to do with the type of damages that may be recovered. Since the purpose of a wrongful death claim is for family members to recover for losses they experienced or will experience as a direct result of losing a loved one, recoverable damages revolve around loss of companionship, consortium, care and support, household services, and financial support through work income and/or inheritance. Funeral and burial expenses, as well as other financial losses taken on by surviving family members, may also be factored into a claim.
If a surviving family member wants to recover for the damages a deceased person suffered immediately prior to their death, such as hospital bills and physical pain and suffering, they must do so through a separate claim called a survival action. A qualified attorney could offer more information about this particular type of litigation if necessary.
How is the Filing Deadline Impacted by a Wrongful Death?
Generally, wrongful death claims in the area are beholden to the same two-year statutory filing deadline set by Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code §16.003 as any other personal injury claim. However, that the two-year deadline for wrongful death cases always starts at the moment of the injury which caused decedent’s passing. This is slightly stricter than the statute of limitations for non-fatal personal injury claims, which sometimes allows the filing deadline to be tolled until the claimant discovers their injuries, rather than being locked strictly to the date the accident occurred.
Learn More About How Wrongful Death Cases Are Unique from a Collin County Attorney
Recovering civil compensation after the untimely passing of a family member is a difficult endeavor under any circumstances, and the various ways in which these cases differ from standard personal injury claims only adds to the complication. With guidance from compassionate legal counsel, though, you could have a much easier time navigating the unique aspects of Collin County wrongful death cases. Call today to speak with an understanding attorney about your legal options.