request a free consultation

How Are Wrongful Death Proceeds Divided in Texas?

Monday, October 19, 2020

A wrongful death in Texas will not affect just one person. It impacts everyone in the deceased victim’s immediate family – including a spouse, child, grandchild parent and sibling. A common question during wrongful death lawsuits is how proceeds won will be divided among recipients. The answer to this will depend on many factors, including state laws, the deceased person’s last will and testament, and the wishes of the family.

What Proceeds Are Available During a Texas Wrongful Death Suit?

First, learn who may file a wrongful death claim in Texas, as well as what types of damages claimants can request. The parties who bear the right to file wrongful death claims are the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children and parents. If you are in this group, you may file individually or your family may file together. The damages available in a wrongful death claim in Texas include funeral and burial costs, lost earnings and benefits, lost inheritance, lost love and companionship, lost care and services, and emotional pain and suffering. Who receives the compensatory award in a wrongful death claim depends on the case.

Who Receives the Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

Each state has different distribution laws for wrongful death claims. Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 71 determines who will receive a portion of the award won during a wrongful death suit in the state. First, the statute gives adult beneficiaries the chance to work out an arrangement among themselves. All beneficiaries must be adults who can compromise and agree on the terms of the division for this strategy to work. State law in Texas is specific in who it sees as beneficiaries after the death of a loved one. It typically names surviving spouses and children as the main recipients.

Most wrongful death claims settle outside of court. If this is the case, adult beneficiaries can decide how to split the proceeds. Should beneficiaries be unable to agree, a lawyer may intervene to help divide the proceeds fairly. Lawyers usually use precedents set by previous wrongful death juries to determine how much to allot each surviving family member. If a wrongful death claim in Texas goes to trial, however, a jury will have the difficult decision as to who will receive how much.

The court will have full discretion over how to divide the proceeds of a wrongful death trial in Texas. Jurors typically give the most compensation to surviving spouses, followed by minor children and parents of deceased minor children. A jury will award compensation to each eligible surviving family member based on the extent of the losses that person suffered. The amount awarded will match how much the loved one lost due to the decedent’s unexpected death.

When to Hire a Wrongful Death Attorney

Most families in Texas will benefit from hiring wrongful death lawyers from the very beginnings of their claims. Lawyers know what these cases require and how to maximize a family’s payout. If you work with a wrongful death attorney, he or she can help your family decide how to allocate the funds won in an insurance settlement. Your lawyer can facilitate conversations and compromises to help your family decide how to distribute a settlement among loved ones rather than going to trial. A lawyer can also increase the chances of your family working together on a group lawsuit, rather than each family member hiring his or her own attorney and filing a separate claim.

The right wrongful death lawyer can help you and your family through this difficult time. From letting you know whether you have grounds for a claim to helping you distribute the funds won, your lawyer can take care of difficult and complex tasks for you while you focus on grieving. If you have further questions regarding how to divide wrongful death proceeds in Texas, contact an attorney from The Law Firm of Aaron A. Herbert, P.C. today.

Posted by admin at 5:48 pm

How to File a Wrongful Death Claim

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Wrongful death is a tragedy that can befall a family after a fatal motor vehicle accident, workplace accident, fall, criminal assault or many other types of deadly accidents. The civil justice system in Texas provides a way for surviving family members to seek financial compensation for the wrongful deaths of loved ones. Although a lawsuit is not the perfect solution, it could lead to important compensation for you and your family during this difficult time. Find out how to file a wrongful death claim in your county with a Dallas personal injury attorney.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

First, determine if you have the ability to bring a wrongful death claim in Texas. A wrongful death claim is a civil cause of action that seeks to hold someone responsible for the fatal injury of a plaintiff’s family member. You may have grounds for a lawsuit if the recent death of someone close to you fulfills the definition of wrongful death according to Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code 71.002.

State law defines wrongful death as an injury related to someone’s wrongful act, neglect, default, unskillfulness or carelessness, that causes death. In most cases, if the deceased person would have been able to file a personal injury claim had the injury not been fatal, survivors can file wrongful death claims for compensation. You might be able to file after any preventable accident that takes the life of your loved one in Texas.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Suit in Texas?

Next, find out if you are one of the parties permitted to demand compensation for wrongful death in Texas. Laws in many different states are strict when it comes to who may and may not bring wrongful death suits. In Texas, these parties are the deceased individual’s surviving spouse, child or parents. These parties may file separately or together as a group. If these parties do not exist or do not file within three months of the date of death, a personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file instead. The only exception is if a family member expressly forbids the representative to bring a claim.

What Is the Time Limit to File?

Act fast to hire a lawyer and take the first steps toward obtaining compensation after the death of someone close to you. Waiting too long could hurt your chances of recovering financially. If you miss the deadline to bring a claim, you will be permanently unable to hold the defendant accountable. In Texas, the deadline (statute of limitations) is two years from the date your loved one died, with limited exceptions. Contact an attorney before the end of your window to make sure you retain the right to file.

How Do You File a Claim?

Once you have confirmed you have all the elements of a wrongful death lawsuit and the legal right to bring a claim, file the paperwork to initiate the process. Start by hiring a wrongful death lawyer in Texas to help you with your case. A lawyer can handle paperwork and legal red tape for you while you spend time with your family during this hard time. A lawyer can also make sure your family does not settle for less than the claim is worth with an insurance company.

You or your attorney will draft a demand letter to send to the insurance company of the allegedly at-fault party. The demand letter will explain why you believe the defendant named is responsible for causing your loved one’s death and how much money your family is seeking to resolve the claim. A lawyer can make sure you get the wording correct in your demand letter. Submit the letter to the insurer and wait for a response. Acceptance will lead to settlement negotiations, while denial will give you the ability to take your wrongful death claim to court in Dallas County. An attorney can help you regardless of which path your claim takes.

Posted by admin at 6:23 pm