Unique Aspects of McKinney Wrongful Death Cases
In McKinney and Texas, a wrongful death action is a statutory case that can be brought under the provision of Civil Practice and Remedies Code, Chapter 71. It allows recovery for death caused by the wrongful act of another person or entity.
A wrongful death claim focuses not necessarily on just the pain and suffering of the person who died, but rather what has been taken from the survivors, who are known as wrongful-death beneficiaries. In Texas, that class includes the children, the spouse, and the parents of the person killed. For more information about the unique aspects of McKinney wrongful death cases, reach out to a compassionate lawyer.
Leading Causes of Wrongful Death in McKinney
Some of the leading causes of wrongful death in McKinney include car and truck wrecks, industrial accidents, and electrical or utility problems. Recently, there have been several people killed in gas-line explosions, for example, because Texas has not done an adequate job of making sure gas utilities have replaced the old cast iron lines that are known for corroding and leaking. As a result, natural gas explosions have been increasing causes of wrongful death in McKinney.
How Wrongful Death Actions are Distinct From Survival Actions
A survival action, which is distinct from wrongful death actions, is intended to compensate for the time that the person lived after the fatal accident. Survival actions may only be brought by the administrator of an estate, not the beneficiaries. For instance, if there is a truck wreck and a person is injured severely and later died from that injury, the administrator of their estate can bring a survival action. The wrongful death action would have to be brought by the beneficiaries that the statute lays out.
The survival action statute of limitations and the wrongful death statute of limitations is the same as the limit for the underlying tort. For most negligence cases, that is two years. Occasionally, circumstances may change the statute of limitations, but a two-year statute of limitations is generally applicable in most wrongful death and survival actions.
How is Estate Law Handled?
In McKinney, Collin County, and Texas generally, estate issues are dealt with by the Estates Code. That is an entirely different section from the wrongful-death section. Generally, Estate Code outlines how to deal with the body, who has the authority to speak for the family, and who can make burial or funeral choices.
In the absence of a written will or trust, the Estates Code has a descending list of people who may apply to administer the estate. Normally, unless all potential heirs sign off on the appointment, the court will retain authority to approve all actions of the appointed administrator. Court-managed administration is normally fairly expensive, but it is a path to bring a survival action if there is not a written will.
Often, an estate or probate attorney will handle the estate and probate issues, and the personal injury lawyer will handle the wrongful death portion of the case. Probate law and personal injury law are two significantly different areas of practice.
Finding Legal Help for McKinney Wrongful Death Cases
If you have recently lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence, you may benefit from the aid of a lawyer. An experienced attorney could help explain the unique aspects of McKinney wrongful death cases and work to pursue fair compensation. When you are ready, consider contacting legal counsel.