Losing a loved one is never easy and may affect every facet of your daily life. However, when a death was preventable, the pain and grief from that loss can be completely devastating. While nothing can undo the harm of such an unexpected loss, a Houston wrongful death lawyer can help you secure justice on behalf of your loved one.
We understand how hard it is to handle this type of loss, which is why the wrongful death lawyers at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm have dedicated their careers to helping families just like yours who have lost a family member to an avoidable accident.
We also know that this is an extremely sensitive matter, which makes it important to work with the right Houston wrongful death attorney. We encourage you to schedule a free consultation with our office, so that we can discuss your case and determine whether we will be the right fit for your family.
What Constitutes Wrongful Death in Texas?
Each state has its own laws that govern wrongful deaths. In Texas, a wrongful death occurs when another person’s or entity’s wrongful, negligent, unskilled, or careless actions caused an avoidable death.
If your loved one would still be alive had it not been for someone else’s negligence, they may have been the victim of a wrongful death.
What Is the Purpose of a Wrongful Death Claim?
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit or claim is typically used as a way to offset the financial impact of a fatal accident. Wrongful death damages can be broken down into three categories of monetary compensation—economic, noneconomic, and punitive damages.
Your Houston wrongful death attorney will evaluate your case and determine what types of damages you are owed.
Economic damages are the calculable losses from a victim’s death. Whether they were the household’s breadwinner, stayed home to offset daycare costs, or were otherwise a financial contributor, the sudden loss of this type of financial support can be economically devastating.
You may be entitled to compensation if the following damages incurred because of your loved one’s death:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income
- Medical expenses
- Lost benefits (including health insurance coverage)
- Loss of inheritance
These types of damages do not have a direct financial value, making them more difficult to properly calculate. Our wrongful death attorneys have the experience and qualifications required to correctly value noneconomic damages, including the following:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of companionship or consortium
- Loss of emotional support
- Loss of protection, care, and guidance
These types of damages are rare in all types of personal injury cases, including wrongful death lawsuits. Meant to punish the responsible party for an act of gross negligence or omission, you might expect punitive compensation if your loved one’s death was the result of a drunk driving accident.
Your Houston wrongful death lawyer will let you know whether your wrongful death suit qualifies for compensation from punitive, economic, or noneconomic damages.
What Is the Cap for Wrongful Death Compensation in Texas?
Texas law does not cap economic damages. Limits on noneconomic damages are as follows:
- $250,000 in cases against a physician, health care provider, or single health care institution
- $500,000 in cases against multiple health care institutions, with no single institution paying more than $250,000
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Texas?
Surviving family members may hold negligent parties accountable for fatal accidents. In Texas, only the following family members may file a wrongful death case:
The compensation will be divided among the above parties in a manner that is proportionate to the impact that the death had on their life. No other family members are eligible for wrongful death benefits.
If a victim’s spouse, children, or parents do not move forward with a wrongful death lawsuit within three months, the personal representative of the estate can file a claim. The personal representative is the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate. In some cases, this role might also be filled by a family member, such as a surviving spouse.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
The Texas wrongful death statute of limitations is only two years from the date of death. Two years may seem like a long period of time, but it can quickly be eaten up by the grieving process. Do not allow your right to seek compensation in a survival claim to lapse. Contact a Houston wrongful death lawyer to begin the process.
Your wrongful death attorney will advise you of exceptions to the two-year limit on survival claims. The following are valid exceptions in the state of Texas:
- If the individual bringing the claim is a minor
- If the other person’s negligence was initially unknown
- If there was fraud
Do You Have To Wait for Criminal Charges To Be Filed?
Our Houston wrongful death attorneys often meet with families who believe that they cannot make a wrongful death claim unless there is an ongoing criminal case. While it is possible to file a wrongful death lawsuit against someone who is also facing criminal charges for their actions, it is certainly not a requirement.
There is an important distinction between criminal and civil cases:
- Criminal cases involve violations of the law for which someone is being prosecuted and are handled in criminal courts.
- Civil cases are private, non-criminal lawsuits to assess liability for damages and reward compensation to affected parties.
A wrongful death lawsuit falls under the umbrella of personal injury and is therefore handled in civil court. A civil lawsuit, like a wrongful death claim, seeks to right the wrongs of a tragic loss by holding the responsible party accountable for their actions.
Since wrongful death cases are governed by state and local laws, it is important to work with a Houston, TX attorney who is familiar with applicable laws and legislation.
Why Work With Our Houston Wrongful Death Lawyers?
We believe that all wrongful death victims and their families deserve a sense of justice. As your law office, our Houston wrongful death attorneys will work tirelessly to make sure that the negligent party is held accountable.
We Investigate Your Case With Compassion
Proving negligence can be one of the most challenging aspects of a wrongful death suit, but is an essential part of any successful claim. However, we also understand how difficult it can be for a surviving spouse or other family members to relive the details of a loved one’s death.
Rather than ask you to revisit the source of your mental anguish over and over, we’ll conduct a thorough investigation into the negligent and willful act that caused the fatal personal injury. We utilize whatever sources necessary when investigating wrongful death claims, including:
- Cell phone, dashcam, and security footage
- Police reports (especially in car accident cases)
- Medical records
- Eyewitness statements
We do not stop there. A great wrongful death lawyer understands the importance of working with experts in other fields when building a strong case.
We routinely hire medical experts and accident reconstructionists who can help us paint a fuller picture of the wrongful act that caused a fatal accident or unexpected death.
We Deal With the Insurance Company
Most wrongful death lawsuits are filed against insurance companies rather than individuals or companies. Insurance companies are for-profit businesses that aim to make money, not help victims. As seasoned personal injury lawyers, we know that insurance companies will do everything in their power to limit or even discredit those who file a Houston wrongful death claim.
At Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm, we never allow the big insurance companies to bully our clients into settling for anything less than what they are owed. In our wrongful death lawyers, you will find uncompromising advocates who will work to secure maximum compensation.
We Prioritize the Attorney-Client Relationship
Finding the right Texas attorney to take on your wrongful death claim can be a challenge. You want to work with someone who you know will be a powerful advocate for you and your family, but also sensitive to your grief.
When you choose to work with a wrongful death lawyer from our law office, you will receive compassionate guidance and exceptional legal support. You’ll never have to worry about the next step of the legal process, as we’ll keep you abreast of all updates and make sure you are as involved as you’d like to be.
Wrongful Death Cases We Handle
You will want to work with a Houston wrongful death lawyer who has experience handling a wide variety of wrongful death claims. We have worked with victims and families on all different types of personal injury and wrongful death cases, including the following:
Car accidents are one of the most common causes of fatal injuries in Texas. Even accident victims who initially survive severe collisions later pass away at the hospital. Let’s take a closer look at car accident statistics from the Texas Department of Transportation:
- Car accidents killed 3,896 people in
- Car accidents killed another 4,489 people in 2021, an increase of 22% in just one year.
- A car accident victim died once every 1 hour and 52 minutes in 2021.
- The deadliest day of 2021 was Friday, Oct. 22, when a total of 27 people were killed in car accidents across the state.
- 2021’s deadliest month was August, with a total of 418 vehicular deaths.
You can file a wrongful death claim for a loved one who suffered a fatal personal injury in a car accident.
Drunk Driving Accidents
Drunk drivers killed 1,077 people in 2021, accounting for 24% of all car accident deaths that year. Although drunk driving crashes can occur at any time, the majority of these accidents were reported to authorities between 2 am and 3 am, a trend that we have also witnessed here in Houston, TX.
Drunk driving accidents are 100% preventable. If you lost a loved one because of a driver’s negligent and reckless choice to drink alcohol before getting behind the wheel of a motor vehicle, a Texas wrongful death lawyer from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can help you secure compensation and a sense of justice in the wake of a fatal accident.
Collisions between 18-wheelers and smaller passenger vehicles are devastating, causing severe injuries that often turn fatal. Here are some of the most common causes of truck accidents that we have identified at our personal injury law office:
- Truck driver fatigue
- Drug or alcohol use
- Hours-of-service (HOS) violations
- Aggressive driving
- Insufficient maintenance
- Negligent hiring practices by the trucking company
- Insufficient training
- Cell phone use or other forms of distracted driving
- Improperly loaded or overloaded cargo
Both federal and Texas law govern how long a driver may be on the road, how frequently they must take breaks, and for how long. Your Houston wrongful death lawyer will thoroughly investigate all possible causes of the truck accident that killed your loved one, including whether the truck driver violated HOS regulations.
There were 521 motorcycle fatalities in 2021, an increase from 483 motorcycle deaths in 2020. Of those who were killed, 55% were wearing helmets at the time of the collision.
While we know that wearing a helmet greatly reduces your chances of dying in a motorcycle collision (and you are required to wear one while riding in Houston, TX if you are under the age of 21), serious harm can still occur to motorcyclists even when wearing safety gear.
Pedestrian and Bicycle Accidents
Pedestrians and bicyclists are perhaps two of the most vulnerable users on our roads. Although they represent a relatively small percentage of road usage, they experience significant fatality rates:
- 824 pedestrians were killed in accidents in 2021, an increase of 15.24% from the year before.
- 90 bicyclists were killed in accidents in 2021, an increase of 13.92% from the year before.
Both pedestrians and bicyclists have just as much of a right to use the road as drivers of larger motor vehicles. A Houston wrongful death attorney from Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm can help you demonstrate how your loved one would still be here if another driver had exercised more caution behind the wheel.
Property owners are obligated to maintain safe premises that are free from serious hazards. When an owner is unable to fix a problem, they should warn visitors of potential harm by placing signs, roping off dangerous areas, and providing verbal warnings. We have worked with clients who have lost loved ones because a property owner’s negligence resulted in:
- Slip and fall accidents (Houston slip and fall lawyer page completed)
- Dog or other animal bites
Dangerous and Defective Products
As consumers, we expect the products we purchase to be safe, effective, and to work as described. When a product causes harm or even death, we hold companies and manufacturers responsible for their actions.
The stakes are high when doctors, nurses, and other health care professionals make mistakes, and even a seemingly minor error can have disastrous consequences. The Houston wrongful death attorneys at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm represent those who have lost loved ones due to medical malpractice, including:
- Surgical errors
- Prescription medication errors
- Emergency room errors
- Diagnostic errors
- Medical device errors
- Birth injuries
When medical professionals cause harm, we are here to hold them accountable for their actions.
Nursing Home Abuse and Neglect
Despite being one of the most vulnerable populations in Texas, elderly men and women are often put into situations in which they have few to no protections. Those who have been harmed because of nursing home abuse or neglect at the hands of a caregiver deserve for their case to be handled with a sense of compassion, understanding, and respect.
If your loved one died because of a nursing home’s abusive or neglectful staff, reach out to a Houston wrongful death attorney at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm for support with your wrongful death claim.
Houston Wrongful Death Lawyers Serving Texas Since 1999
If your beloved family member would still be here if not for the wrongful act of another person, Texas law allows for you to take action on their behalf. The clock is already ticking on your right to move forward with a wrongful death claim, though.
Do not forfeit your right to compensation. Contact us to speak with a Houston wrongful death lawyer at Buckingham Barrera Vega Law Firm today. There is never any obligation at your free case evaluation.