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Wrongful Death

If you have lost a loved one through someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, no award or settlement can compensate you for the loss you have suffered. A wrongful death claim is a legal action to hold the responsible party accountable and to seek justice for your loved one by recovering compensation for yourself and your family members.

At The Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III and Associates, PLLC we handle wrongful death claims to help families uncover the truth about the death of their loved ones and recover compensation to offset losses associated with the death. Our wrongful death lawyer in Houston will fight for your rights and to obtain justice for your loved one.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a civil action filed against a party who has caused someone’s death through negligence or intentional harm. In Texas, it is filed to recover damages for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. A wrongful death claim can be brought only when a victim who would otherwise have a personal injury claim dies as the result of negligence or intentional harmful acts of the defendant.

Who Can File a Wrongful
Death Claim in Texas?

A claim for wrongful death in Houston may be filed by the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased for the benefit of all. As stated in the statute, if none of these surviving family members have begun a claim within three calendar months after the loved one’s death, the executor or administrator of the deceased shall bring and prosecute the lawsuit, unless he or she is asked not to by all surviving family members who are eligible to file a claim.


What Must Be Proven in
a Wrongful Death Claim?

To hold the defendant liable in a wrongful death claim, you must meet the same burden of proof that your loved one would have been required to meet if he or she had lived. If your claim is based on negligence, you must show that:

  • The defendant owed the victim a duty of care
  • The defendant breached that duty
  • The breach of duty was the direct and proximate cause of the victim’s death
  • The victim’s death caused the damages you are seeking to recover

Determining Damages in
a Wrongful Death Claim

The Houston, Texas wrongful death statute states that the jury may award damages in an amount proportionate to the injury resulting from the victim’s death. These damages will be divided amongst the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased, in proportions determined by the jury.

Punitive (exemplary) damages may also be recovered when the death was caused by a willful act or omission or gross negligence of the defendant. This type of damages is designed to punish the defendant and set an example to deter similar conduct in the future.


What Are Wrongful Death
Damages Based On?

Damages awarded by the jury in a wrongful death claim are based on the losses surviving family members have suffered and are likely to suffer in the future because of their loved one’s death. These losses may include:

  • Earning capacity
  • Inheritance
  • Care, support, services, maintenance, counsel and advice of the deceased
  • Love, comfort, society, and companionship of the deceased
  • Emotional pain and suffering and mental anguish caused by the loved one’s death

What is a Survival Claim and How Does it Differ From a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is filed against the responsible party when it brought about the death of a loved one. The loved ones are suing for the harm they experienced as a result of losing the family member. This harm can be emotional and financial. Some damages include:

  • Loss of emotional support
  • Loss of quality of life
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of financial support

A surviving spouse and children have the right to pursue damages in a wrongful death claim. A survival claim can be brought against the parties responsible for the death of a loved one. It includes the following factors:

  • The negligent party’s actions brought pain and suffering to the family member before they died.
  • The defendant should be held liable for the pain and suffering.
  • The deceased person would have been able to pursue compensation had he or she lived.
  • The compensation will be paid to the deceased person’s estate.

Only the heir of a deceased person or the estate representative can bring a survival claim against negligent parties in the state of Texas.

What Are the Potential Causes of a Wrongful Death Claim?

When a negligent or reckless act causes or contributes to the death of another, the close family of the victim may bring a wrongful death claim against the responsible parties. A wrongful death case can be filed for many types of fatalities, including:

  • Car accidents: Negligent driving behavior such as driving while intoxicated, speeding, and distracted driving can be cause for a wrongful death claim when these actions lead to fatal injuries.
  • Aviation accidents: An aviation accident may be the result of some form of negligence, and if so, the close family has the right to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim.
  • Medical malpractice: Medical professionals have a duty to provide patients with an “accepted standard of care.” If a medical professional fails to provide this standard of care, and the person dies as a result, a wrongful death claim can be filed against the medical professional, facility, or another negligent party.
  • Truck accidents: Truck accidents are far more likely to be fatal due to the size and weight of semi-trucks and 18 wheelers. If your loved one died in a truck accident, a wrongful death claim could be filed to recover compensation.
  • Birth injuries: Some birth injuries are the result of medical negligence. In these cases, a wrongful death case can be filed against the medical professional and facility.

Why Choose Us for
a Wrongful Death Claim?

At The Law Offices of Willie D. Powells III and Associates, PLLC in Houston, you are not just another number. We pay attention and take extra care, treating every client as an individual. Most of our clients come to us through personal referrals and we work to maximize the experience. If you wish to learn more, contact us today and schedule a consultation with arguably the best wrongful death attorney Houston has to offer.

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FAQ Wrongful Death

How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim in Texas?

In the state of Texas, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the deceased person’s passing. There are some rare cases where more time is allowed by the court. If you are unsure as to whether you can file a wrongful death claim, the best thing you can do is speak to an experienced personal injury attorney.

How much does it cost to file a wrongful death claim?

To make his services widely available to grieving families, Willie Powells works on a contingency fee basis. You do not have to pay for any legal services unless compensation is recovered on your behalf.

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