How Do You Prove Wrongful Death?
- September 8
- Evans & Herlihy
- Wrongful Death
Proving wrongful death means showing that another party’s neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or fault was the cause of the death.
Losing a loved one is always a devastating experience, but when the death was caused by someone’s negligence, normal grief may be compounded by anger and the desire to punish the wrongdoer. In addition, after the death, survivors may be left without income or support at a time they are facing medical bills and funeral costs.
While money can never replace a loved one, if you have lost a family member due to another party’s negligence or fault, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. A settlement award can ease your financial burdens and help your family function, pay their bills, and move on with their lives.
How do you prove a wrongful death happened? Under Texas law, wrongful death exists when a person dies due to another’s “neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” However, it is up to the plaintiff to prove that this is the case. Texas wrongful death laws are complicated, and the negligent parties and their insurance companies will attempt to show that the death was not their fault to avoid paying compensation.
Fortunately, you do not have to fight them on your own. The compassionate wrongful death lawyers at Evans & Herlihy will take the burden off you by handling all legal hurdles involved with proving wrongful death, holding the at-fault parties accountable, and getting you the settlement you deserve.
Learn What You Need to Prove Wrongful Death
Our Lawyers Know What to Do to Help
Wrongful death cases are like personal injury cases, where liability must be proven the same way as if the deceased had survived the wrongful act. For your lawsuit to be successful, our wrongful death lawyers must show that the defendant(s) in the case were negligent and at fault for causing the accident that led to the death.
Texas Statutes section 71.002 (b) states that an action for wrongful death may be brought if the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of one party causes the death of another. The defendant in the case will attempt to show that they were not at fault, that the death was the cause of an unavoidable accident, or even that the deceased person did something that caused the death. Our attorneys will anticipate this and carefully investigate what happened and gather evidence to prove that the death was wrongful.
Proving fault in a wrongful death case means showing the following elements exist:
- Duty: The defendant had a duty of care not to cause harm.
- Breach: The defendant breached this duty by acting or failing to act.
- Cause: This wrongful act, neglect or default caused the death.
- Damages: The victim has surviving beneficiaries, children, or dependents who suffered damages resulting from the death.
To help prove wrongful death, we will:
- Listen to your version of how the death occurred to see if a wrongful death case is warranted and estimate what it may be worth.
- Examine the scene of the death and gather evidence such as from photos and videos from surveillance cameras and from police, ambulance, and medical reports and documents.
- Interview witnesses and first responders to get testimony as to what they observed.
- Hire experts to reconstruct the accident and testify as to how it occurred, who was at fault.
- Hire experts such as accountants and life planners to testify as to how the loss of your loved one affects your family and will in the future.
- File all paperwork and handling all legal procedures and court appearances in accordance with Texas laws and requirements.
- Handle communications and negotiations with insurance companies and their lawyers, who will try to get you to say something that can be used against you in court or to settle for the lowest amount possible.
- Build your case and taking it to trial if necessary and presenting proof of wrongful death to a judge or jury.
Our attorneys will communicate and work with you and your family throughout the entire process. We will be there for you, answering your questions and concerns and informing you of how your case is progressing.
What Qualifies as Wrongful Death?
There are a wide range of situations that can qualify for wrongful death. The common factor is that someone else must have been negligent and at fault for causing the death.
Situations that may qualify for liability for wrongful death include:
- Vehicle accidents when someone acted negligently or unlawfully, such as running a red light, causing a fatal crash.
- Defective products that caused death, even when used properly. If a defective airbag exploded and caused a death, the manufacturer or installer of the airbag could be held liable.
- Accidents at work due to an employer’s failure to provide a safe working environment for employees. If a worker died from toxic chemicals because the employer failed to provide proper ventilation or protective equipment, the employer may be held liable.
- Medical malpractice due to mistakes by a professional who failed to abide by a reasonable standard of care, such as a surgeon who left equipment in a body cavity and caused a fatal infection.
- Accidents such as trips and falls if a business or property owner failed to maintain property in a safe manner or warn of danger.
- Negligent security if a business owner failed to install proper lighting, security cameras, or hire a security guard in a high crime area, and someone was killed on the property.
Call Our Attorneys for Help Proving Your Wrongful Death Claim
In Texas, a victim’s spouse, children, or parents – or the executor of the estate – may pursue a claim of wrongful death, seeking a damage award to cover financial losses, such as lost earning capacity of the deceased and medical and funeral expenses. You may also receive non -economic damages such as loss of companionship, society, comfort, household services, and love, as well as for emotional pain and mental anguish. Wrongful death damage awards are divided among the surviving family members in proportion to the injury they suffered as a result of the death.
Our Evans & Herlihy wrongful death lawyers understand what you are going through. We are here to take the burden off you and do everything necessary to prove wrongful death, hold the wrongdoer accountable, and fight for the compensation that will help you and your family recover from this terrible loss.
There are time limits for filing, so don’t delay. Texas has a statute of limitations, a deadline for filing. According to Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code section 16.003, a wrongful death case generally must be filed within two years of the deceased person’s death, or the courts will not hear your case.