In Texas, two things can prolong a wrongful death case:
- The negotiation process between the wrongful death lawyer and the insurance company
- The trial duration when negotiations fail and both parties are unable to come to an agreement
Although skilled wrongful death attorneys in Texas often try to get a satisfactory settlement quickly for clients, the reality is that insurance companies are often reluctant to pay the full amount.
This is why these cases often drag on for years instead of weeks or months. If you’re considering filing a wrongful death case in Texas, it is important to do so with the help of an experienced legal professional.
And you have to do it quickly because of the two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Texas. Our experienced Texas wrongful death attorneys at The Buzbee Law Firm can help expedite the process, provide legal counsel and guidance, and pursue the settlement you deserve.
The Process of Building a Wrongful Death Case
It is important to understand how wrongful death claims work in Texas. Even though every case is unique, they all tend to move along in the following ways:
- The deceased’s surviving relative talks to experienced lawyers about their case
- The lawyer then starts the process of investigating the cause of death
- Once the attorney establishes that there’s a real case, they’ll then file a claim with the defendant’s insurance company and/or the court
- The claim will contain the damages that you want your lawyer to recover –if you have no idea of what to ask for, your lawyer can help
- The discovery process, which involves getting documents and statements from the accused
- Working on a speedy settlement out of court –this can include mediation sessions
- If multiple attempts at an out-of-court resolution don’t work, the case will be taken to trial
- Usually, adequate settlements are awarded at this stage
- If the court denies the claim, your wrongful death attorney can file an appeal to get the court to reconsider their stance
For a Texas wrongful death counsel to win and get you fair compensation, they will have to demonstrate the burden of proof for the defendant. Since wrongful death claims are usually civil action cases, the burden of proof is lower. The lawyer only has to show acceptable evidence to help you secure your claim.
Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case in Texas
A key aspect of winning a wrongful death case and getting a good settlement amount is proving negligence. Your attorney or law firm will have to show that the defendant was responsible for your loved one’s death. The yardsticks for determining this are as follows:
- Duty of care – The defendant had a duty to ensure that your loved one was reasonably safe while on their property, around them, or when they interacted with them. For example, if your loved one was killed in a car accident because thedefendant was distracted, the defendant had a duty to drive safely on the road.
- Breach of duty –The lawyer will have to show that the defendant’s recklessness or negligence e.g., texting while driving, led to the car crash.
- Causation – That the collision led to catastrophic injuries that eventually took your loved one’s life.
- Damages – Your attorney will need to prove that the injuries sustained by your loved one led to their demise. And that their demise led to significant cost implications or deprived the loved ones of certain benefits that the deceased would have provided if they were alive.
In summary, your lawyer will attempt to prove that the actions, inactions, negligence, recklessness, or carelessness of the at-fault party were directly or indirectly responsible for the demise of your loved one.
What Damages Can You Recover from a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Only a few people can claim wrongful death benefits in the state of Texas. These include:
- Surviving spouse
- Surviving biological or adoptive parent(s)
- Surviving biological or adoptive child(ren)
- Personal representative of the deceased’s estate
In Texas, wrongful death lawyers can help surviving relatives of an individual who has passed, secure the following damages:
- Hospital and medical costs
- Funeral expenses
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of companionship, financial provision by the deceased, inheritance, and comfort
- Pain and suffering endured by the victim before they passed
- Loss of income and potential future earnings
These are some of the common damages that you can claim in a wrongful death suit in Texas. But speaking to an experienced lawyer can open your eyes to even more damages that you may be able to claim.
Don’t Accept Any Offer from the Defendant’s Insurance Provider
Sometimes, insurance providers will reach out to relatives of the deceased and offer them a settlement amount. This can seem like a good offer, particularly when you’re struggling financially and the case seems to be dragging on for too long.
Here’s the thing about such offers: they’re usually much lower than what you can get when you have an experienced wrongful death attorney fighting for you. If you have received such an offer, we’ll strongly recommend that you don’t accept the offer.
Avoid Lowball Settlement Offers
We know that no amount of money can make up for the loss of a loved one. But insurance companies shouldn’t have to add insult to injury by offering you way less than what you deserve. Unfortunately, they do this all the time in the hopes of paying just the bare minimum.
Whatever they’re offering you, our skilled attorneys can probably get them to increase the offer by at least 50 percent. So, even though it’s very difficult to say no to an offer that seems like a life-changing one, remember that you can always get more than what the insurance company is offering you.
In our experience, people who accept these offers often find that they weren’t fair, even if the amounts seemed pretty good at the time. If you’re ever tempted to accept their offer, do a quick calculation of how much the deceased could have earned for the remainder of their life if they had lived. Then, compare that to the offer from the insurance company. That’ll give you a clear picture.
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Contact Our Skilled Wrongful Death Lawyers at The Buzbee Law Firm
Now, remember that when you hire our experienced wrongful death attorneys, not only will we go after a settlement that reflects the potential lifetime earnings of the deceased, but we’ll also tack on other damages.
This way, you’ll get a settlement that’s more in line with what you truly deserve. We know that it’s difficult, but you need to start thinking about the long-term financial impact of the loss of your loved one and how you can provide a safe and secure future for yourself and your loved ones.
At The Buzbee Law Firm, our Texas wrongful death attorneys are dedicated to helping relatives of deceased victims get worthwhile settlements. Led by Tony Buzbee, we’ve recovered over $10 billion in damages for our clients. And we hope to get you the maximum compensation possible too.
Contact us today for a free case evaluation or call us to just talk about your case for free. We can provide the legal help that you need.