What Is Wrongful Death?

When someone dies or is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another person or entity, their death could be considered “wrongful.”

Wrongful death claims can be brought by the closest family members or the estate of the deceased. Such claims can arise in several different circumstances, including murder, death resulting from medical malpractice, or road accidents involving negligence. Wrongful death lawsuits seek compensation for family members for their losses associated with losing a loved one. These losses include lost wages from the deceased, funeral costs, or lost love and companionship.


How To File a Wrongful Death Claim?

When a person who would otherwise have a valid personal injury claim is killed as a result of another individual’s or entity’s wrongful action, the family or estate of the deceased may be able to bring a wrongful death claim. However, to prove that the defendant is liable for the wrongful death, the plaintiff must be able to show the following elements:

  1. The defendant’s actions were negligent,
  2. The victim’s death was a direct result of these negligent actions,
  3. The surviving family members are legal beneficiaries of the victim’s estate,
  4. The surviving family members have suffered losses as a result of the victim’s death.

Although every state has different time limits for bringing wrongful death lawsuits, the general rule is that the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the event that led to the death of the victim. In Texas, the family of the deceased has two years from the death to file their lawsuit, unless one of the exceptions applies to the situation.


What Damages Are Recoverable In Wrongful Death Lawsuits?

All states allow for recovery of some form of economic loss, such as funeral, and burial expenses or loss of financial support from the deceased person. Additionally, in Texas, damages in a wrongful claim are awarded to compensate losses such as mental and emotional anguish, pain, and suffering, as well as lost care, support, and advice.

When damages for wrongful death are awarded in Texas, the amount is distributed between all of the affected family members proportionately to the injury each of them has suffered after the wrongful death of their loved one. The proportions are usually decided by the court.


To summarize, wrongful death occurs when an individual dies as a direct result of another person’s or entity’s negligence or misconduct. Contrary to what some may think, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action, therefore the standard of proof is lower than in a criminal case for murder or manslaughter. A wrongful death lawsuit can arise in various situations, such as medical malpractice, road accidents, or manufacturing defects. The family members or entity of the deceased may be awarded economic and noneconomic damages to compensate for the loss of their loved one.

If you’ve been injured by a car, truck, 18 wheeler, or company vehicle, call DeSouza Law today at (210) 910-HURT or (361) 799-2222.