Wrongful deaths compound the sorrow of a life lost with the added sting of injustice. The difference between a grandparent dying naturally after a rich, full life, and a loved one dying due to preventable accident or outrageous misconduct is profound. It changes the way surviving family members grieve, and also what needs to be done to lay a loved one to rest.
A wrongful death is a loss of life that should not have occured. Working to locate and prove the persons or parties responsible is the job of a qualified wrongful death attorney.
We at Pierce Skrabanek have an extensive history of recovering all we can for our wrongful death clients. There is no replacing the person you’ve lost, but there are real, tangible benefits to be won in wrongful death cases, including financial restitution and justice for the harm that was done.
The following information is provided to help explain the nature of wrongful death lawsuits, and what a wrongful death settlement could mean for you.
Cornell Law provides the basic definition of a wrongful death action as “a civil action against someone who can be held liable for a death.” This means that any unjust injury which causes someone’s death may be grounds for a wrongful death action. The civil action could happen in lieu of or separate from a criminal trial, depending on the situation.
The definition goes on to specify that, originally, claims for wrongful death had to be brought by the decedent’s survivors (close relatives only, like parents, partners, or children). However, modern law has been modified in some states so that distant relatives (like grandparents) or financial dependents (like unmarried domestic partners) may also sue for wrongful death.
For example, though Pierce Skrabanek handles nationwide cases, we are based out of Texas. In the state of Texas, only immediate surviving family members can file a wrongful death suit, specifically spouses, children, or parents.
Those who do not have the right to file wrongful death claims in Texas include grandparents, siblings, cousins, or other relatives, as well as live-in partners who are not bound by a formal or common-law marriage.
If you have questions regarding who has standing in your state to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your deceased loved one, call 832-690-7000 to speak with the wrongful death lawyers at Pierce Skrabanek. Do not hesitate, as there may be a statute of limitations (filing deadline) that applies to your circumstances, and your window of opportunity for justice may be closing.
Our clients often report feeling relieved once they’ve hired legal counsel. This is because the Pierce Skrabanek team immediately takes over the work to prove a case like wrongful death, removing that burden from your shoulders.
Here are the basics of how your attorneys may prove wrongful death cases:
The above points are also known as the four elements of negligence, and are required to prove in cases of personal injury and wrongful death before damages awards are agreed upon or decided by a judge. This is why you hire a wrongful death attorney, because while these are the concerns of the legal system, your time is better spent elsewhere. Specifically, your personal priorities likely involve processing your grief and rebuilding your life after a loss, rather than trying to deal with legal matters on your own.
For the support needed to recover, you may require a legal settlement.
THE REASON YOU NEED A WRONGFUL DEATH ATTORNEY IS BECAUSE THE CONCERNS OF THE LEGAL SYSTEM ARE FOR YOUR LAWYER TO WORRY ABOUT—YOUR TIME IS BETTER SPENT PROCESSING YOUR GRIEF AND REBUILDING YOUR LIFE AFTER A LOSS.
Once a wrongful death is proven, the next step is agreeing upon the amount of damages. To be clear, however: there is no monetary amount that makes up for the loss of a human life. So what does a wrongful death settlement pay for?
Here are some examples that may apply in wrongful death cases:
This category of damages is often clear, and may be presented by your lawyer as a series of receipts.
Economic damages may include:
The non-economic and emotional losses are the ones that really matter in cases of wrongful death. And yet, these damages are often harder to prove. This is why experienced wrongful death attorneys like those at Pierce Skrabanek are essential — to help translate irreplaceable losses into terms that are recognized by the law.
Non-economic damages may include:
Certain wrongful death scenarios involve criminal prosecution, as in the case of a murder. However, even when wrongdoing isn’t criminal, a judge may assign extra penalties to teach a lesson.
Other damages and fees that may result from a wrongful death verdict are:
There are many facets involved in settling a wrongful death claim, but the work of a practiced attorney can make the process as easy as possible for you during your time of mourning.
Once the amount of damages has been finalized, there are two main ways wrongful death settlements are paid out:
Once these decisions are made, they are hard to modify. Choosing the method of payout is an important decision, and often requires the guidance of an attorney to help you plan for your future with confidence and clarity. A professional wrongful death lawyer will make sure that you understand the terms you’re agreeing to before you accept a settlement offer.
Pierce Skrabanek is a sincere, down-to-earth law firm based out of Texas, with nationwide reach. We fight as aggressively for our clients as we would for our own family members, and in cases of wrongful death, we make sure everything is done to get as much justice as possible.
If you think you need a wrongful death attorney, call us today at 832-690-7000, or fill out our contact form to schedule a free consultation. Let us advocate fiercely for you and your family, and contribute what we can via the law to help you find peace.
A wrongful death suit is a civil action (as opposed to a criminal one). Wrongful death lawsuits seek to prove that a person or entity failed to meet a reasonable standard of safety and care, and the result of that failure led to someone’s untimely death.
Across the United States, immediate surviving family members like parents, children, husbands, and wives have the right to sue for wrongful death. In certain states, that right extends to more distant family members (such as grandparents) or financial dependents (like live-in partners).
Short answer: you hire a capable attorney like those at Pierce Skrabanek to gather evidence of negligence, and build a case for compensation. That work includes showing that a person or entity failed to act responsibly, and that their actions caused a fatal injury. It also involves calculating the cost of a death in financial terms — economic costs like lost income, and non-economic costs like the loss of an individual’s irreplaceable companionship.
There are two main ways that wrongful death settlements may be paid out. The first is a lump sum, which is a one-time payment useful for repaying medical debts, settling an estate, and rebuilding one’s life after a profound loss. The second is a structured settlement, which refers to regular and sometimes long-term payments that could help replace a lost income stream and provide for a stable future.