Filing a Lawsuit for the Wrongful Death of a Child

There is nothing worse than the death of a child- it is every parent’s worst nightmare. When placed in this horrific situation, the reaction of the child’s parents is usually a kind of numbness caused by the shock. The next step is anger. This is even worse when the cause of their child’s death was accidental or preventable.

“Wrongful death” is the term used to describe a death caused by another, whether that is intentional or simply the result of negligence. There are a vast range of situations in which this term can be applied.

Texas’ wrongful death laws give parents the right to file a claim. Of course, it is impossible to put a monetary value on their lost child, but all the same a successful claim can help to restore a sense of justice by holding the guilty party to account.

Who Can File A Claim For Wrongful Death In Texas?

It must be the parent, spouse, or child of the victim to actually make the claim. However, this does also include adoptive family members. Conversely, it is prohibited for adopted children to make a claim concerning the death of a biological parent. Another key fact to remember is that parents can proceed with a claim on their child’s behalf, provided said child is under 18 years of age.

What Damages Are Available In A Wrongful Death Suit?

Aside from the traumatic nature of losing a loved one or family member, it is essential to take into account the financial burden for those left behind. That’s why the monetary compensation received following a successful wrongful death claim can provide invaluable additional support for the family of the deceased.

Of course, it goes without saying that the money is no substitute for the lost child. However, it can be a useful crutch for struggling families.

There are a host of different damages for which compensation can be claimed in a wrongful death suit. Here is an outline of some of the most frequently-occurring examples:

  • Loss of income (this refers to the money the victim would have earned had they survived)
  • Cost of the funeral
  • Cost of any medical treatment for the victim between the date of the accident and the date of death
  • Cost of inheritance lost as a result of the death
  • Loss of counsel and companionship provided by the deceased
  • Loss of support and assistance which the deceased provided at home
  • Mental anguish

As well as compensatory damages, a court is also permitted to award “punitive damages.” This refers to damages which are intended to “punish” the guilty party in a wrongful death claim.

For a successful wrongful death claim in Houston, it is vital to show that the death of the child was a direct result of the negligence or intent of another party. With that in mind, a key element is establishing said party’s legal duty of care, as well as demonstrating how that duty was breached.

If you find yourself in the terrible situation of losing a loved one because of the actions of another, your first port of call should be the Houston wrongful death lawyers at the Stephens Law Firm. Give us a call to arrange a free consultation.