Wrongful Death

Attorney Patrick R. Kelly seeks justice for claims involving wrongful death in Dallas and throughout the state of Texas. He seeks the maximum amount of compensation for victims and the deceased’s family using his creative lawyering and experience.

The Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code presents a tool to seek justice against negligent defendants for a person’s death. The “Wrongful Death” statute entitles beneficiaries to recover for the wrongful death of a loved one. Specifically, the Texas law allows an attorney to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased person. These aforementioned people bring an action as a group of plaintiffs, or one individual may file the lawsuit for the benefit of the others. Certain other individuals or representatives may also assert a wrongful death claim in unique circumstances.

Damages (Monetary Compensation)

Under Texas law a plaintiff in a wrongful death case would seek an award for an amount that would bear some ascertainable pecuniary (financial) benefit which the deceased person’s beneficiaries might reasonably expect to have received from that person had the death not occurred. The wrongful death statute now allows beneficiaries to recover pecuniary losses and damages for loss of society and companionship and mental anguish. Punitive or exemplary damages are also available in some cases.

Factors Affecting a Wrongful Death Claim

While it is a harsh reality, corporations and insurance companies don’t view human life the same. Some claims are worth more than others. An attorney who understands how claims adjusters and corporations value wrongful death claims is invaluable to a family suffering from the death of a loved one. When evaluating a potential claim, a knowledgeable attorney will want to know the following factors:

  1. the decedent’s and the plaintiff’s (beneficiary) life expectancies;
  2. the health of the plaintiff;
  3. the degree of intimacy of the relationship or frequency of contact between the plaintiff and the decedent;
  4. the extent of financial dependency on the decedent;
  5. the number and type of services provided to the plaintiff by the decedent;
  6. income potential of the decedent derived from the decedent’s education and historical earnings; and
  7. the plaintiff’s potential loss of inheritance because of the early death.
Wrongful Death and Survival Actions

In addition to filing a claim under the wrongful death statute, a survival action may also be appropriate. This claim is actually brought on the behalf of the decedent’s estate as if the decedent were still alive. It seeks compensation for injuries and pain and suffering from the time of the tortious act through the time of death. In other words, a decedent’s beneficiaries’ bring a wrongful death claim, while a decedent’s estate can file a survival action. The money received for a survival action is often distributed to beneficiaries in accordance with a person’s will or under Texas law if no will exists.

Our objective at the Law Offices of Patrick R. Kelly is two-fold when it comes to the untimely death of a loved one. First and foremost, we want to stand by those grieving and obtain for them as much financial compensation as available to ensure their future is secure. Second, we seek justice to ensure the negligent parties are held liable so that such tragedies will hopefully never occur again. Call attorney Patrick R. Kelly today for a free consultation!

Free Consultation