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Dallas Wrongful Death Lawyers

Imagine getting the dreaded phone call from the police that your loved one died in an accident in Dallas. You would be shocked, devastated, and overcome with grief. Then, you find out that another person’s negligence may have caused the accident that killed your family member.

This tragic scenario happens far too often in Dallas and across the country. Whether the person died in a motor vehicle accident, slip and fall incident, or workplace accident, Texas law allows you to sue for wrongful death if another party acted negligently.

Nix Patterson’s wrongful death attorneys in Dallas understand and sympathize with your loss. When you’re ready, our attorneys can meet with you to talk about the possibility of filing a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent person or entity.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death occurs when an individual or entity doesn’t fulfill their legal duty and causes someone’s death. Certain family members or the estate’s executor or administrator may file a wrongful death lawsuit for damages when this occurs.

In the wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove the following to receive compensation for economic and non-economic damages:

  • The person or entity acted negligently, such as driving dangerously and causing a car accident. The person could have also engaged in an intentionally wrongful act, such as an assault.
  • Their actions directly caused the person’s death.
  • The family suffered damages related to the death.

A wrongful death lawsuit bears similarity to a personal injury claim. The only difference is that the person who could have filed the personal injury lawsuit. Consequently, the family may, if they choose, file a wrongful death lawsuit instead.

Not every accidental death is a wrongful death. Remember, Texas law states that wrongful death is one that was caused by another person’s negligence or wrongful act. It also can be because of the person’s carelessness, neglectfulness, or unskillfulness.

A wrongful death claim is a civil matter. It is separate from any criminal case that relates to the death. For instance, if your loved one was run over in a Dallas crosswalk, you could likely file a wrongful death lawsuit against the driver. Simultaneously, the Dallas prosecutor may file involuntary manslaughter charges against the same party. These actions are separate, and the criminal case’s outcome doesn’t affect whether you obtain compensation in the wrongful death lawsuit.

Who Can Sue for a Wrongful Death?

In Texas, only specific individuals may file a wrongful death claim. These parties are the surviving spouse, parents, and children. Any of these parties can file a wrongful death lawsuit within three months of the person’s death.

Some families are surprised to learn that you cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit if you are a sibling. Many states allow brothers and sisters to file, but Texas is not one of them.

If they do not file a claim within 90 days, an executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate may do so. Only the parties above can file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit. The claim must also be filed within two years of the decedent’s death, or you forfeit your right to pursue compensation.

If you obtain compensation in a wrongful death settlement, the family will control how the money is divided. But if the Dallas wrongful death case goes to trial, the jury decides how the money is allocated. Therefore, it may be preferable for family members to settle the case so they have control over the funds.

Common Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Dallas

All kinds of wrongful death accidents in Dallas could be the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit. The most common ones are:

Auto Accidents

Dallas is a growing city, and there is road construction everywhere. Between heavy traffic, road construction, high speed limits, and aggressive drivers, many serious auto accidents happen every year. Some of them lead to fatal accidents. If another driver’s negligence caused your loved one’s death, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit against them.

Many serious auto accidents involve drunk and drugged driving. If that is the case in your wrongful death claim and the driver was cited, it could be beneficial for a successful case outcome.

Premises Liability

When you legally enter the property of a Dallas real estate owner, you may assume that they have taken precautions to ensure that you will not suffer injuries. However, accidents frequently happen in businesses and private residences that cause severe injury and death.

A premises liability claim allows the family to sue potentially negligent property owners for damages. Common types of premises liability claims involve dog bites, slip-and-fall cases, inadequate security, snow and ice-covered parking lots and sidewalks, and escalator and elevator accidents.

Premises liability wrongful death claims can be successful against retail shops, apartment buildings, private residences, etc.

Medical Malpractice

You may have trusted a doctor to take care of your loved one. But while many medical professionals do a good job, far too many medical mistakes happen. You could file a wrongful death lawsuit if the doctor violated their duty of care. Common medical malpractice cases involve missed diagnoses, prescription drug errors, and surgical mistakes. You may be able to sue multiple medical professionals and the healthcare facility, depending on the circumstances.

Job-Related Injuries

Some jobs in the Dallas area involve a risk of job-related injuries, especially construction work and driving jobs. Employers must provide adequate safety equipment and training to ensure that no one is seriously injured or killed on the job. A job-related death could be a workers’ compensation case, which could entitle you to death benefits.

However, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit in limited circumstances. For instance, if an employer engaged in intentional action that caused the person’s death, a wrongful death lawsuit is possible.

Nursing Home Abuse And Neglect

Was your loved one a nursing home resident? Did they suffer so much neglect and abuse that they died? Far too many nursing home residents suffer abuse and neglect and have severe or fatal injuries. If your loved one died under suspicious circumstances, you should speak to a wrongful death attorney today.

What Kind of Compensation Is Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Depending on many factors, wrongful death lawsuits can be worth a significant sum of money. Some of the compensation you could receive includes:

  • Funeral and burial costs. The aftermath of a sudden death can leave the grieving family with enormous funeral expenses.
  • Medical bills. If your loved one required medical care before they died, you could be stuck with their medical expenses, often costing tens of thousands or more.
  • Loss of income and financial support. If the person was a breadwinner in the home, you could be deprived of years of income and benefits.
  • Lost household services. Your loved one may have performed many duties around the home, such as lawn care, repairs, laundry, and caring for children.
  • Mental and emotional anguish. The psychological aspect of losing someone in an accident or intentional act is hard to quantify but worth a great deal.
  • Loss of benefits. The death could mean losing your health insurance, retirement benefits from your spouse that you relied on, and possibly a loss of inheritance.

This list isn’t exhaustive, and your Dallas wrongful death attorney has experience valuing a claim correctly. They can structure a settlement for you to ensure they receive fair compensation for all your losses.

Regarding the amount of compensation, every Texas wrongful death claim is different. One wrongful death lawsuit could be worth $100,000, while another could settle for $5 million.

Factors that can influence the case size are the amount of insurance coverage, the age of the decedent, the decedent’s income and financial standing, and the type of damages you seek. The jury’s makeup and the judge’s temperament in handling the case are also critical to the ultimate award.

The Standard of Proof in a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The burden of proof is an important fact to understand about Texas wrongful death claims. The standard of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, which means you only need to show that it is slightly more likely than not that the defendant caused the death.

This is a lower standard of proof than a criminal case, which is beyond a reasonable doubt. This is more difficult to prove. This is one reason that sometimes a defendant can be found not guilty in a criminal trial but responsible for the death in a wrongful death lawsuit.

Your wrongful death attorney understands the burden of proof in a wrongful death claim. They will carefully build the case based on the strongest evidence, such as police reports, video and photo evidence, and eyewitness statements. They also may hire various experts to provide significant evidence, such as how the death happened and the seriousness of your injuries.

They may also call economists and occupational experts to show the case’s value and how much money your family lost when the breadwinner died.

Am I Eligible to File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

You are eligible to file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit if you are an immediate family member, which is the spouse, children, or parents. A child who files a wrongful death lawsuit must be at least 18 and the legal child of the decedent.

Texas Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuits

It’s understandable if you don’t want to think about lawsuits and legal issues when you lose your loved one. By all means, take some time to deal with your emotions and the immediate concerns about the burial, funeral, and memorial.

After that, you may want to start thinking about legal options if another person may have caused the death. In Texas, there is a two-year statute of limitations. This means you have only two years from the date of death to file a lawsuit. This is a short time, and there are only limited exceptions to the rule. One of them is if the person wanting to sue is under 18, they have until two years from their 18th birthday to file the claim. But other than that, you generally have minimal time to take legal action.

Speak to Nix Patterson’s Wrongful Death Lawyers Today

Having your family member die suddenly in an accident is one of the most devastating things that can happen. If someone else’s negligence or misdeed killed your loved one, a wrongful death lawsuit may be appropriate.

Many victims may feel that filing a lawsuit is greedy, but it isn’t. You could have significant medical bills and burial expenses, and losing your loved one could wreck your finances, retirement, and your children’s college education. Why shouldn’t the at-fault party compensate you for your loss? That way, you may receive adequate funding from the claim or lawsuit to prepare for the future and rebuild your life.

Our Dallas wrongful death lawyers will review your case for free and determine if there is a legal path forward. Contact Nix Patterson’s wrongful death attorneys today for more information.


Nix Patterson only works on a contingency fee basis. Our clients pay us nothing unless we win. Schedule a free consultation today. Call 512.328.5333 or complete the form below. 

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