Winning a wrongful death claim normally hinges on the level of negligence that was displayed by the respondent party with respect to a reasonable duty of care that was owed to the victim. In this respect wrongful death claims are just like personal injury claims. However, similarities between wrongful death and personal injury claims stop there in most cases because a successful wrongful death claim will always require retaining an experienced Austin wrongful death attorney to prosecute the claim. The plaintiff legal counsel essentially serves as the prosecutor in a civil trial, and wrongful death is probably the most serious of injury-based civil cases.
Standing to Sue for Wrongful Death
Standing to sue for personal injury claims that do not result in death are always granted to the injured plaintiff if they can qualify according to the Texas statute regarding comparative negligence, which is controlled by the 51% rule. The standing for an individual to sue for a personal injury actually stops at the time of death, but specific family members are assigned standing in the event of a fatality. The actual standing to sue is essentially granted to the estate of the decedent, but the administrator of the estate is authorized to begin the proceeding. Attorneys can also sue on behalf of an estate if they are named the actual administrator, but usually a family member is assigned standing.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Action
The typical pecuniary damages that are requested in a personal injury claim still apply in a wrongful death claim, but there are other elements as well that can apply. Loss of consortium for a spouse or minor children can be a component of the claim, and many times this is actually done in a separate trial. Wrongful death claims must always go to trial for punitive damage assessment by a jury, which can often result in a maximized damage award from a sympathetic jury for more than just the decedent’s estate. This always requires a tried and true attorney who knows when punitive damages may be available.
Contact Austin Wrongful Death Attorney Terry & Kelly
Anyone in Texas who thinks they may have a potential wrongful death claim should contact Terry & Kelly Law Firm for a complete and free evaluation of the your claim value.
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