Losing someone important to you is devastating; however, it is even worse if their death results from another’s careless behavior. Fortunately, grieving is not the only option available to you. You can also consult a Corpus Christi wrongful death lawyer from Loncar Lyon Jenkins who can assist you in seeking justice for your loved one while also ensuring the damages are financially covered.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death?
When a person (or an unborn fetus) dies due to another’s unjust act or negligence, it is a “wrongful death.” If the victim had survived, they would have been able to pursue a personal injury case. However, since the individual has died, the surviving spouse, adult child, or parents can file a claim in Corpus Christi, Texas.
If there are no immediate family members who file a claim within the three-month window from the date of death, the personal representative in charge of the deceased’s affairs has the authority to take over and submit a wrongful death lawsuit.
Wrongful death claims are similar to a personal injury case, except the victim cannot bring their lawsuit to court themselves. Instead, an eligible third party must intervene and seek compensation on the deceased’s behalf.
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The Differences Between a Wrongful Death and Homicide Case
There are considerable differences between a wrongful death case and a homicide case. Some of the differences involve the following:
Homicide is a criminal case, whereas wrongful death is a civil case.
In a criminal case, the federal or state government must prove the accused person’s liability or guilt “beyond a reasonable doubt,” a very high standard. In a civil case, the plaintiff must prove the defendant’s liability “by a preponderance of the evidence,” which means that the defendant is more likely than not to blame for the death.
Who Can Sue?
The victim’s immediate family members (or representative) and their lawyer are the only ones who can file a wrongful death case. On the other hand, the state is the one that starts a homicide case, not the victim’s family members. The court can call the victim’s family or representative witnesses in a homicide case.
In successful wrongful death litigation, the defendant’s liability is typically resolved only in monetary compensation that the court requires the defendant to pay to the deceased person’s survivors or estate. However, in a criminal murder case, the defendant could face jail or prison time and fines, probation, and other consequences.
Homicide and Wrongful Death Can Overlap
A form of homicide is murder, which requires a degree of criminal intent. However, homicide can also refer to acts of killing committed without the intent to harm another person.
A single death occurrence might lead to criminal prosecution and a wrongful death claim: A defendant can be sued in civil court for wrongful death while also facing criminal charges for the same end. For instance, if a drunk driver kills your loved one, they may be charged with a DUI offense. You have the right to initiate a wrongful death case also. Simultaneously, the jury could assess the motorist with homicide in criminal court.
The court may establish liability in a wrongful death claim through actions that amount to criminal activity. However, this is not always the case; many acts that led to wrongful death culpability do not result in criminal charges.
Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Case
Under Texas law, a decedent’s surviving adult child, spouse, or parents may seek compensation for personal losses from the loved one’s death. The following types of damages are available:
- The loss of an inheritance, which includes what the deceased would have earned and given if they had lived
- The emotional and mental torment that survivors have to go through
- The victim’s lost earning capacity (their inability to provide for the family anymore)
- The loss of companionship, comfort, and affection
- The lack of the deceased’s domestic services
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The Value of Your Wrongful Death Claim
Numerous elements influence the amount of any settlement you may receive. It is hard to know how much you might be able to collect without first completing a full investigation of your case. The following are some of the criteria that impact the amount of compensation obtainable:
- The decedent’s earning potential and profession
- The deceased’s age
- The intent behind the defendant’s action that led to the accident
- The defendant’s degree of fault
Remember that establishing the value of your case is not a simple task. It is worthwhile to contact a wrongful death lawyer serving Corpus Christi as soon as possible so that they can begin working on your case. Our attorneys can help gather pieces of evidence before they are lost. Loncar Lyon Jenkins’ lawyers can also interview witnesses before they forget the details of the deadly accident.
How Much Time Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits have a two-year statute of limitations after the victim’s death, per Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 16.003. Before the time runs out, you can file an unjust death claim in civil court. It is worth noting that a separate statute may apply in specific circumstances. It is best to speak with a Corpus Christi wrongful death attorney about the events of your case to learn more about how much time you have.
Get Help from a Wrongful Death Attorney Serving Corpus Christi Today
With our assistance, you can rest assured that a qualified lawyer will fight on your behalf against insurance companies and opposition attorneys. Therefore, it is in your best interest to act quickly before the statute of limitations runs out and you lose your right to file a case.
Contact Loncar Lyon Jenkins to discuss your claim with a Corpus Christi wrongful death lawyer. We will go to great lengths to help you get the most compensation possible. Your loved one is important to us, and so is your loss; we want to help you achieve justice and honor those that have passed.