The wrongful death survivors are entitled to death compensation for their economic and non-economic damages. Calculating death compensation is one of the most difficult aspects of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Understanding how to calculate death compensation can help determine how much you could be entitled to in a lawsuit. This is where a Texas wrongful death attorney can help you. We can examine your evidence and give you an estimate of your damages.
Wrongful Death Compensation Damages in Texas
A claim for damages in the event of wrongful death may be brought regardless of whether criminal charges are pressed. The principle is based on the premise that the guilty party should cover the costs associated with the damages rather than the victims or their families.
The damage coverage might differ in states. For a Texas wrongful death case, damages that can be awarded may include:
- Treatment expenses
- Burial and funeral expenses
- Loss of support and care
- Companionship loss
- Loss of inheritance
These damages are possible only when a person’s death directly results from someone else’s willful misconduct or extreme carelessness. For most wrongful death cases in Texas, there is no settlement cap.
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How Is Wrongful Death Compensation Calculated in Texas?
It is impossible to put a price on life. However, compensation following the death of a loved one can help you manage the financial aspects better. To determine how much you could be eligible for, wrongful death compensation is calculated using several variables:
- The age of the decedent
- Work history and education of the departed
- Pre-death health, family situation, and age of dependents
- Compensation for foregone advantages (health insurance, pensions, etc.)
- Costs associated with a funeral
- Inheritance tax for the decedent’s medical expenses
Damages awarded in a Texas wrongful death lawsuit are based on evidence. Contact a wrongful death attorney in Texas if you want a fair estimate on your wrongful death compensation.
How Long do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Under Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 16.003(b), the statute of limitations in a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas is two years. But like other aspects of the law, this timeline has certain exceptions. For example, in the case of a minor child making a claim, the statute of limitations extends until the child reaches 18 years of age.
In another scenario where the cause of your loved one’s death isn’t proven to be carelessness until years after their passing, the statute of limitations might be extended. For instance, if someone passes away and it’s later discovered that they died because of faulty medicine, the timeline to file a lawsuit and seek compensation is extended.
Calculating the Decedent’s Lost Income
To calculate the decedent’s lost income, an attorney will consider several aspects, including their occupation, level of education, age, and social background. The judge or jury will make a final decision on what amount fairly reflects the decedent’s expected future income. Their lost income is used to calculate the inheritance loss.
Lost future earnings are often calculated as the amount of money a victim would have made if they survived the accident. Beyond basic measures of income and savings, other calculations are also considered.
You may do the math by multiplying the decedent’s salary in the year before they passed by the years until retirement (and adjusting for inflation to account for any potential raises in that income).
The variables to be considered might not be the same in every case, as every lawsuit is unique. Talking to a wrongful death attorney in Texas will help you get clarity on the dynamics of your case.
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What to Expect from a Wrongful Death Settlement
Death benefit settlements are meant to help families suffering financially and emotionally due to a loved one’s death. Several variables will be taken into account by the courts, including the nature of the fatal accident and the victim’s level of pain and suffering in the moments leading up to their passing.
The victim’s age and prospective earnings are also considered since a younger individual would have many more working years ahead of them. The extent of the available insurance coverage would also be considered. Hiring an attorney saves you from keeping a tab on all the detailed legal aspects and lets a professional handle it.
Wrongful Death Elements
You can make a winning claim when you succeed in proving the four components of the cause of action. Each aspect of wrongful death is essential to the case. Before you understand the calculation behind wrongful death compensation, here are the elements that must be met to seek compensation:
- Duty of care: A wrongful death lawsuit in Texas requires that the defendant owed the deceased person a duty of care. Duty of care can have multiple explanations, each specific to the case. Identifying and proving the duty of care is essential.
- Breach of duty: The next step is to provide evidence that the defendant didn’t fulfill their obligation. Failing to act with the degree of care that a reasonable person would exercise in a comparable circumstance is a breach of duty.
- Causation: The element of causation in wrongful death requires you to demonstrate that a breach of duty caused the death. There are two forms of causation: direct and indirect.
- The direct cause indicates that the death wouldn’t have happened if it hadn’t been for the defendant’s acts;
- Indirect cause means that the act resulted from a breach of duty.
- Damages: The negligent party’s behavior must have resulted in actual harm. When filing a claim for wrongful death, you must provide evidence of the losses incurred by the dead person’s loved ones. These must be a direct consequence of the death, such as financial hardship and emotional anguish.
Get Help from a Wrongful Death Attorney in Texas
It’s important to keep in mind that the presence or absence of certain elements might change the wrongful death compensation amount. Consulting with a Texas wrongful death attorney is your best bet for obtaining an accurate compensation calculation in a death case.
The lawyers at the Buzbee Law Firm will fight for your rights and help get you the best settlement possible. Contact us to schedule a free wrongful death case consultation.