Wrongful Death


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Irrespective of the circumstances, losing a loved one is tragic. Every year, thousands of Americans are killed in preventable accidents. Car and truck mishaps consistently rank among the top causes of accidental deaths.


Wrongful death is defined as the death of a person due to the negligent or careless act of another. In a wrongful death claim, the surviving family members are entitled to get compensation for their losses.


As per the Texas Wrongful Death Act, an action for damages can be brought when there’s liability for the death of another. If there’s a death due to negligence or carelessness, it’s best to get in touch with wrongful death lawyers in Midland and Odessa.

Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Texas, a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by certain members of the decedent’s family. This includes spouse, children, and parents of the victim. In some cases an adopted child may file a claim if the adoption was fully completed.


Types of Compensation on a Wrongful Death Claim in Midland and Odessa

A surviving family member may claim compensation to recover what’s better known as actual damages and exemplary damages.

Actual damages

  • Monetary losses due to loss of the victim’s earning capacity and the value of care, support, advice, and counsel s/he provided to the family members
  • Loss of love, comfort, and companionship
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Mental anguish such as emotional pain, torment, suffering that has resulted from the death of the family member

Exemplary damages

Exemplary damages are often referred to as punitive damages and these are awarded in a lawsuit when the actions of the defendant were malicious, oppressive, violent, fraudulent, and reckless. Punitive damages are awarded to the plaintiff to punish the defendant and prevent other individuals from committing similar acts. In short, these damages are awarded to the plaintiff beyond the actual loss to impose a penalty for the wrongdoing.

Siblings Cannot File a Wrongful Death Suit in Texas

As per Texas law, the surviving siblings, whether adopted or biological, are not eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Proving Negligence in a Wrongful Death Case

In a wrongful death claim, negligence is the main legal element. There are four elements that a wrongful death attorney needs to prove:


  • A legal duty is owed: Take, for instance, a car accident caused due to intoxicated driving. Drivers have a legal duty to operate their vehicles without being intoxicated.
  • Breach of duty: Continuing with the example, if someone is drunk and gets behind the wheel, a breach of duty takes place.
  • Breach of duty leads to injury: It is essential to prove that due to the breach of duty, actual physical injuries occurred.
  • Breach of duty led to monetary losses: Physical injuries could lead to hospital bills, surgeries, loss of inheritance, and loss of work.


Statute of Limitations

The statute of limitations in Texas requires one to file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the decedent’s death. Though there are a few exceptions, it’s best to file a lawsuit within that period to maintain eligibility. However, in cases involving medical malpractice and healthcare liability, the statute of limitations extends to two years from the date of negligence.


Difference Between Wrongful Death and Murder

While both result in death, there’s a difference between wrongful death and murder. Murder is an intentional act to end another person’s life. On the other hand, wrongful death cases are mostly caused due to negligence. Murder cases are litigated in a criminal court whereas wrongful death cases are brought in a civil court.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to resolve a wrongful death case?

Wrongful death cases can be resolved in a few months but there are also times when it takes several years. The time it takes depends on the nature and extent of the damages. Compared to a civil cause of action, the process of settling a wrongful death case usually takes a shorter amount of time. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the victim of the negligent act is deceased and nothing else changes when it comes to damages. The process is just a matter of accumulating all the documentation to file an appropriate claim.

Why is it necessary to retain the services of an experienced attorney?

In a wrongful death lawsuit, there are different types of damages that are important to outline to the insurance adjuster. Only experienced wrongful death attorneys can establish all the possible elements of damages. Without any knowledge of state and federal laws, you may end up losing a lot of money in the negotiation process.

What are the different types of damages in a wrongful death case?

In a wrongful death lawsuit, financial compensation is available for:

  • Funeral costs
  • Medical bills
  • Lost income
  • Pain and suffering

What if I’m unable to afford a lawyer?

Most wrongful death attorneys in Texas accept cases on contingency, i.e., you do not have to pay any fees unless they recover compensation on your behalf.       

Contact Wrongful Death Attorneys in Midland & Odessa @ the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess

Our wrongful death lawyers in Midland and Odessa have more than two decades of experience in handling complex cases. If you think you have a wrongful death claim, get in touch with our attorneys.

We understand that the death of a loved causes overwhelming grief. In such circumstances, the surviving family members often fail to think rationally. Attorneys at the Law Offices of L. Clayton Burgess offer a FREE initial consultation to help you determine the merits of your case. Because wrongful death cases are complex matters, it’s best to talk to attorneys as soon as possible. Our specialized wrongful death attorneys have a passion for representing aggrieved individuals and protecting their rights.

Don’t Delay! Call Clay!