Wrongful Death Lawyers & Fatal Accident Attorneys
When a person dies or is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another, including murder, the surviving members of the victim’s family may sue for “wrongful death.” Most wrongful death lawsuits follow in the wake of criminal trials, using similar evidence but with a lower standard of proof. Regardless, someone found liable for the wrongful death may or may not be convicted of a crime associated with that death.
Before wrongful death laws were passed in each state, wrongful death claims did not exist. These claims were not allowed under common law, the legal principles that had been passed down from England to the United State over many centuries. Under common law, negligence claims died with the victims of the negligence, and so survivors did not have the right to recover for the losses they suffered as a result of the death of their loved one. Now, of course, all states have wrongful death statutes, and even though they are not identically drafted, there are some common elements at their core. When filing a wrongful death claim, survivors must typically show:
- The person(s) being sued caused the death (completely or in part) of the victim.
- The person(s) being sued were either negligent when they caused the death, or are responsible for the death as a matter of law (strict liability).
- The victim’s spouse, dependents and/or beneficiaries are alive.
- The victim’s death has caused monetary losses, compensation for which is being sought.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be brought against a wide variety of people, such as the driver at fault in an automobile accident, a negligent employer, the manufacturer of a faulty or dangerous product, or a violent criminal.
A member of a family, however, can’t be sued by another family member for wrongful death. So if a battering husband inflicts a beating on his wife that results in her death, he is subject to criminal penalties, but the couple’s children can’t sue their father for wrongful death to recover damages for the loss of their mother’s care, nurturing, and support.
These wrongful death attorneys are routinely involved in Central Texas wrongful death lawsuits: