Midland Wrongful Death Lawyers

Have You Lost a Loved One in a Wrongful Death Accident?

Our Midland wrongful death lawyers know losing a family member is one of the most painful experiences in life. That loss is even more painful when it is caused by the negligence of another person or entity. Our thoughts and prayers go out to you if you have experienced a death in the family under such devastating circumstances. Our Midland wrongful death lawyers understand the emotional, financial, and mental devastation facing surviving family members.

If your loss was the result of a wrongful act by another party, our Midland wrongful death lawyers may be able to help your family through this trying time by handling the legal actions. The wrongful death laws in Texas are written to allow surviving family members to lessen the burden of losing a loved one by recovering financial damages.

Our Midland wrongful death lawyers understand no amount of money can fully compensate for the loss of a loved one. However, the compensation we can pursue on your behalf can help reduce the financial burden of your family’s loss. Further, it is the legal means Texas created to punish negligent parties for causing your loss.

If you or a family member has suffered a loss and believe you have a wrongful death claim, call our Midland wrongful death lawyers for a FREE CONSULTATION. Our accidental death attorneys will review your case, answer your questions, and make every effort to obtain all forms of compensation to which you are entitled.

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What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a civil action made by the family members of a deceased relative whose fatal injuries were caused by the negligence or misconduct of another individual or entity. Texas law allows surviving family members who depended on the decedent for emotional and financial support to seek monetary compensation by filing of a wrongful death lawsuit.

The loss of a loved one – such as a spouse, parent, or child – is a traumatic experience emotionally, physically, and psychologically. It can put strains on relationships and create difficulties simply moving forward with the basic duties in our daily lives.

Moreover, the loss can also have severe financial consequences. Families depend on each other for financial support, income, and division of daily duties. The unexpected loss of this support can place significant financial burdens on a family. Further, the loss of a loved one typically involves unanticipated expenses, such as medical and funeral expenses.

If you have a wrongful death claim, call our Midland wrongful death lawyers for a FREE CASE REVIEW.

Leading Causes of Wrongful Death

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) ranks unintentional injury as the leading cause of death in the United States for people under 45. Further, unintentional injury is the fourth leading cause of death across all age groups.

Types of Wrongful Death Claims

Unintentional injury accidents form the basis for most wrongful death lawsuits. Causes of fatal accidents that warrant the filing of a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • Motor Vehicle Accidents:  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates 42,915 people died in motor vehicle traffic accidents in the US in 2021, a 10.5% increase over 2020 and a 16 year high. In 2021, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) tracked 2,395 fatalities in Texas. Motor vehicle accidents are the most common cause of wrongful death claims in Texas, and include:
    • Auto accidents involving cars, SUVs, and similar vehicles.
    • Trucking accidents with commercial vehicles, such as 18-wheelers and semis.
    • Motorcycle accidents involving street bikes like sport bikes, cruisers, touring bikes, trikes/tricycles, and mopeds.
    • Pedestrian accidents.
    • Bicycle accidents involving cyclists and riders of human-powered transportation machines, like skateboards and scooters.
  • Product Liability:  This is a facet of personal injury law that deals with defective products or services which cause injury to a person due to errors in product design, manufacturing, or instructions for use. Manufacturers, distributors, and retailers can potentially all be held liable for products or services that are defective or are in violation of consumer protection laws and cause fatalities. Examples include:
    • Defective products, such as defective vehicle parts like exploding Takata airbags.
    • Dangerous drugs or medical devices/implants, such as the global opioid settlement for narcotics overdoses.
    • Dangerous or defective machinery, especially when missing safeguards (e.g., lawnmower guards, industrial machinery shutoff switches).
    • Toxic chemicals, particularly when lacking safety and use warnings
  • Medical Malpractice:   Medical malpractice claims are difficult in Texas, as you must prove:  1) there was an established doctor-patient relationship, 2) the physician breached the standard of care, 3) their act or omission resulted in damages, and 4) the physician’s negligence directly led to the death of the patient. Examples include:
    • Surgical and medication errors.
    • Delayed or improper treatment.
    • Birth complications.
  • Workplace Accidents:  In the US in 2020, the US Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 4,764 fatal work injuries, a 10.7% decrease over 2019 and the lowest level since 2013. In Texas there were 608 fatal occupational accidents in 2019. Workplace accident injury claims fall into one of three categories:  1) worker’s compensation claims, 2) personal injury claims, or 3) wrongful death claims. Negligence can include poor training, inadequate safety measures, and similar misconduct by employers. Examples include:
    • Transportation accidents are the most common cause of workplace wrongful death claims. These can include oilfield accidents, maritime accidents, and 18-wheeler accidents.
    • Falls from height, such as falls from a scaffolding in a construction accident with a worker who did not receive safety harness training.
    • Slip and falls, such as when a worker perishes due to an unsafe condition the employer knew of but did not remedy.
    • Machinery accidents, such as when someone is caught in an industrial machine.
    • Exposure to harmful environments or substances, such as in chemical manufacturing facilities.
    • Explosions, such as plant and refinery accidents.
  • Premises Liability Accidents:  These wrongful death cases exist when an owner of property owes a duty of care to a visitor, breaches that duty, and the breach leads to the death of an individual. Examples include:
    • Slip and fall or trip and fall accidents, such as slipping on water from a leaking refrigeration unit in a grocery store.
    • Attacks by dogs and other animals, particularly when the owner knew the animal had a history of attacking people and did not take reasonable steps to prevent an attack.
    • Swimming pool accidents, most frequently drownings of young children due to inadequate fencing to prevent entry or poor supervision.
    • Firework accidents when an owner is negligent in setting them off, though they can also be product liability claims when the firework was defective.
    • Amusement Park accidents, such as injuries suffered on amusement park rides, or drownings at a water park due to dangerous water intake pumps.
  • Other Causes:

If you have a wrongful death claim for any accident, call our Midland wrongful death lawyers for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Fatal Motor Vehicle Crash Statistics in Midland, TX and Midland County

Our Midland wrongful death lawyers compiled crash reports from the Midland Police to track fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2021, given they are the most common form of wrongful death claim made in Texas. Midland crash reports show:

Fatal Auto Accidents in the Midland Area

  • Midland:  11 crashes fatally injuring 15 people
  • Midland County:  9 crashes fatally injuring 9 people

Fatal DUI (alcohol-related) Auto Accidents in the Midland Area

  • Midland:  4 crashes fatally injuring 4 people
  • Midland County:  9 crashes fatally injuring 9 people

Sources: Crashes and Injuries Cities and Towns; Crashes and Injuries by County; DUI (Alcohol) Crashes and Injuries Cities and Towns.

How Do I File a Wrongful Death Claim?

If you have tragically lost a loved one in a fatal accident, the loss alone brings insurmountable grief and often financial hardship for surviving family members. When you believe that loss may be due to the negligence of another person or entity, the loss can feel even more devastating.

Although no amount of money can adequately compensate for the loss of a loved one, Texas law permits certain surviving family members to file a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims must be investigated by an attorney to prove certain key elements, such as negligence on the defendant, and to ensure you are a family member that is eligible to file a claim.

If you want to file a wrongful death lawsuit, call our Midland wrongful death lawyers for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

Not all family members of a decedent are eligible to file a wrongful death claim in Texas. Under Texas Civil Practice & Remedies Code § 71.004, only the surviving spouse, children, and parents may bring an action to recover damages.

Family Members Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim

  • Spouses: Spouses in Texas are defined by both state and common law (informal marriage) and are eligible to file a claim even if they were separated at the time of death.
  • Children: Both biological and legally adopted children are eligible to file a claim.
  • Parents: Biological and adoptive parents are eligible to file a claim, even if the parents are divorced.

Family Members Who Cannot File a Wrongful Death Claim

  • Siblings
  • Grandparents
  • Stepparents, foster parents, or biological parents who gave their decedent child up for adoption
  • Biological children of a decedent parent who gave them up for adoption
  • Boyfriends or girlfriends, unless they qualify under common-law marriage
  • Other more distant relatives, such as cousins, aunts, and uncles

If you believe you qualify to make a wrongful death claim, call our Midland wrongful death lawyers for a FREE CONSULTATION.

What Damages Can I Seek in a Wrongful Death Cases?

Calculating damages in wrongful death cases is complex. Damages are divided into two categories:  1) economic (monetary or financial) damages; and, 2) non-economic damages without a specific monetary value. An example of economic damages is lost income, whereas non-economic damages include damages like pain and suffering.

Economic damages can be easy to present, such as the cost of a funeral. However, some economic damages require experts to assess aspects of the claim. For example, a financial expert would need to calculate the present value of future lost income by looking at the decedent’s income and age until expected retirement. Non-economic damages are more difficult to quantify and can be highly subjective.

The types of damages each eligible claimant can recover varies based upon their relationship with the decedent. Examples of damages which can be claimed by one or more parties include:

  • Economic damages
    • Financial expenses, such as burial expenses, funeral expenses, and medical bills
    • Financial losses, such as loss of income, inheritance, and household and domestic services
  • Non-Economic Damages
    • Mental anguish
    • Pain and suffering
    • Punitive damages (also known as exemplary damages) which are meant to punish and discourage bad behavior, if there was gross negligence or willful misconduct by the defendant
    • Loss of consortium, such as loss of companionship, loss of advice, counsel, society, and intimate relationship
    • Bystander damages if they witnessed the event that caused the death

If you have a have suffered damages in a wrongful death case, call our Midland wrongful death lawyers for a FREE CONSULTATION.

How Are Wrongful Death Damages Distributed?

Damages are typically distributed based off the degree of injury to that specific party. For example, parents of an adult child will typically receive less than the spouse, since the spouse usually has greater financial damages in the form of lost income (if the decedent was a wage earner) or lost household support (if the decedent was a homemaker). If the parents were dependent upon their adult child for income, though, this can vary. Similarly, for most adult children their reliance on their parent for income or financial support lessens over time, so their damages are less than a dependent minor child.

When wrongful death cases go to trial distribution of damages among the claimants is left to the discretion of the court. In general, most juries award the largest portion of the proceeds to surviving spouses, then minor children, then parents of the decedent. What the jury will be instructed to do is attempt to match the distribution of the awarded funds to the surviving family members based off their relative degree of loss.

Is a Survival Action the Same as a Wrongful Death Claim?

No, survival actions and wrongful death claims are distinctly different. Wrongful death lawsuits are brought by surviving family members to compensate for their damages. These lawsuits are intended to hold negligent parties accountable for dangerous conduct that led to someone’s death, and to prevent the defendant from taking such reckless actions in the future.

Conversely, survival actions are personal injury claims to compensate the heirs, legal representatives, and estate of the decedent (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code § 71.021). They are brought on behalf of the decedent to compensate their estate for the decedent’s pain and suffering from the time of the accident up until death. Although tragic, the longer and more intense pain the decedent suffered before dying, the greater value there is in a survival action.

If you want to file a survival action in conjunction with a wrongful death lawsuit, call our Midland wrongful death lawyers for a FREE CONSULTATION.

What is the Deadline for Bring a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Texas, there are two deadlines to be aware of when it comes to bringing a wrongful death claim. The surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased are the only parties that can bring a wrongful death claim within the first 90 days after the date of death. However, if they have not brought an action within three months of the date of death, the executor of the decedent’s estate may also file a wrongful death claim unless requested not to by all the above surviving family members.

Per the statute of limitations in Texas, all of the above parties then have up to two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Be aware, the statute for wrongful death is different than that for personal injury claims which have two years from the date of accident. While two years sounds like a long time, it is important to file your claim as soon as possible to ensure evidence does not disappear and witness memories do not fade.

If you would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, call our Midland wrongful death lawyers for a FREE CONSULTATION.

Call Our Midland Wrongful Death Lawyers for a FREE CONSULTATION

Our Midland Wrongful Death Lawyers Charge NO FEE Unless We Win

Our Midland wrongful death lawyers understand what a difficult period this is in your life and welcome the opportunity to grant you some peace of mind. To lessen the burden on already financially challenged families, we work on a contingency fee basis.

This means that our Midland wrongful death lawyers do not receive any payments for our services unless we are able to recover a settlement on your behalf. If we recover a settlement, our fee will only come out of a portion of that settlement. If for any reason we are unable to recover damages for you, you will not owe us a penny.

Our firm obtained one of the top 100 wrongful death settlements in the U.S. in 2021, and 15 of the top 50 personal injury settlements in the State of Texas. We have handled a wide variety of different wrongful death cases and have a history of obtaining excellent results for our clients.

No Win No Fee Midland wrongful death lawyers

Remember, the statute of limitations in Texas is 2 years from the date of death in wrongful death claims. If you have lost a loved one in any type of accident due to the negligence of another person or entity, call our Midland wrongful death lawyers today or submit a form for a NO COST CONSULTATION with a wrongful death attorney at Thompson Law.

Thompson Law Guarantee

Thompson Law receives an attorney fee and you pay no legal fees as our client unless we pay you. Thompson Law has 350 years of combined experience in legal representation and has won over $1.8 billion dollars in cash settlements for our clients. We master the art of managing client cases with empathy, compassion, respect and, of course, prodigious skill. Contact us today for a free, risk-free consultation to discuss your accident and your options.

State law limits the time you have to file a claim after an auto accident. If you have been injured in an accident, call now to get the help you need.