Montgomery County Wrongful Death Lawyer Helping Residents in The Woodlands, Conroe, and Houston

At one time, Texas law provided that a person’s personal injury claims and any claim arising from his or her death terminated upon death. Thus, when a person’s injuries caused his or her death, which injuries were often the most significant injuries and caused the most significant losses, neither the decedent’s estate nor the decedent’s heirs could recover damages. To remedy this harsh result, the Texas Legislature enacted the Wrongful Death Act and the Survival Statute.

The Wrongful Death Act created a cause of action allowing surviving spouses, parents and children of a decedent to bring a claim for their losses resulting from the decedent’s death. The Survival Statute merely permitted the decedent’s personal injury claim to survive decedent’s death and allowed it to be brought by the decedent’s estate.

Adams Law Firm handles wrongful death and survival claims involving all types of accidents (i.e. car, truck, bicycle, motorcycle, pedestrian, drunk driving, industrial or construction, and workplace accidents), or another’s negligence or professional malpractice or a defective product, or an unsafe condition on someone’s property.

Wrongful Death Claims

Surviving spouses, parents and children of the decedent are the only statutory beneficiaries allowed to bring a wrongful death claim. If a statutory beneficiary dies, his or her wrongful death claim ceases to exist and does not survive to the statutory beneficiary’s estate or heirs.

The elements of a wrongful death claim are: (1) the plaintiff is the decedent’s surviving spouse, parent or child; (2) the defendant’s wrongful conduct, negligence or professional malpractice, or a defendant’s defective product, or an unsafe condition on the defendant’s property, caused decedent’s injury; (3) the injury caused the decedent’s death; and (4) the decedent would have been entitled to bring an action for the injury if he or she had lived.

Once these elements are established, a statutory beneficiary can recover actual damages for the beneficiary’s: (1) pecuniary losses – loss of care, maintenance, support, services, advice and counsel – resulting from the death; (2) mental anguish resulting from the death; (3) loss of companionship and society resulting from the death; and (4) loss of inheritance resulting from the death. Punitive damages may be awarded to a surviving spouse or child, but not a parent, if the death was caused by willful act or omission or excessive negligence of the defendant.

The statutory beneficiaries must file a wrongful death claim within two years from the date of the decedent’s death. However, if the wrongful death action is against a healthcare provider or facility, the time to file a wrongful death claim expires at the same time it would have for the decedent, that is, two years after the malpractice occurred.

If you’re a surviving spouse, parent or child of someone killed by another’s wrongful conduct, negligence or professional malpractice, or a defective product, or an unsafe condition on someone’s property, contact our Houston wrongful death lawyer at Adams Law Firm today at (713) 936-2555 or kadams@adams-lawfirm.com for a free consultation, or use our online contact form, to find out how we can help.

Survival Claims

Under the Survival Statute, you may be able to obtain compensation on behalf of a loved one’s estate for his or her physical, emotional and financial losses from the time of the accident until death. Sometimes this may be a period of a few minutes, days or months. Regardless of the time period, the estate may be able to obtain compensation for a loved one’s physical, emotional and financial losses sustained before his or her death.
The elements of a survival claim are: (1) the plaintiff is the legal representative of the decedent’s estate; (2) the decedent had a personal injury claim which decedent would have been entitled to bring if he or she had lived; and (3) the defendant’s wrongful conduct, negligence or professional malpractice, or defendant’s defective product, or an unsafe condition on the defendant’s property, caused decedent’s injury.

In a survival claim, the plaintiff can recover medical expenses, loss of earnings, pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of quality of life and lifestyle, and disfigurement suffered by the decedent before his or her death, and funeral expenses. In some instances, punitive damages may be awarded to the decedent’s estate if the defendant’s conduct was fraudulent or malicious, or their negligence was excessive.

Any actual or punitive damages awarded in a survival action belong to the estate and are distributed to those who would have received them had the decedent obtained them immediately before death.

The time period to file a survival claim is the same as the time period for the decedent’s underlying personal injury claim, and if the time period to file the decedent’s personal injury claim had expired before the decedent’s death, the time period to file a survival action based on the same alleged wrong would likewise have expired.

Our Houston Wrongful Death Lawyer Will Fight for Full Compensation

If you have a family member or loved one whose death was caused by another’s wrongful conduct, negligence or professional malpractice, or a defective product, or an unsafe condition on someone’s property, please contact our Houston wrongful death lawyer at (713) 936-2555 or kadams@adams-lawfirm.com for a free consultation, or use our online contact form, to find out how we can help.