Jason Stephens | August 12, 2020 | Wrongful Death
The loss of a child is unimaginable. The pain and suffering can be overwhelming. Many parents are in shock at first, and then they are angry that their child was taken from them in a preventable accident.
A wrongful death occurs when another party causes the death of a person through negligence, errors, or wrongdoing. A wrongful death claim for a child can occur from a variety of situations, including but not limited to:
- Car accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Birth injuries
- Dog bites
- Pedestrian accidents
- Swimming pool accidents
- School bus accidents
- Defective products
- Electrocution injuries
- Medical malpractice
Under Texas’ wrongful death laws, parents can file a wrongful death claim. While money does not take away the pain, holding the party responsible for a child’s death accountable in court can provide some measure of justice for grieving parents.
Deadlines for Filing Wrongful Death Claims in Texas
It can be difficult to think about a legal action after losing a child. However, the time to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas is limited. The Statute of Limitations places a two-year deadline on filing most wrongful death lawsuits.
However, there are exceptions. If the case involves a government entity, the time to file a claim could be much shorter. It is a good idea to talk with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as possible after the death of a loved one.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Claim
When families lose a loved one, the financial burden caused by the death can create hardships and additional emotional trauma and stress. A wrongful death claim can provide compensation to help relieve the financial stress placed on a family after losing a loved one.
Texas law allows family members to recover compensation for a variety of damages in a wrongful death case. Some common damages included in wrongful death actions are:
- Loss of financial support (income the deceased would have earned had he or she lived)
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses and bills incurred between the date of injury and date of death
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of companionship, guidance, support, and counsel
- Loss of household help and support
- Mental anguish
In some cases, the court may also award punitive damages in a wrongful death lawsuit. Punitive damages are the way the court “punishes” a defendant for gross negligence and intentionally harmful acts. Punitive damages are only available in a few types of cases.
Childhood Injuries and Accidents
Children can be hurt in a variety of ways. When a child sustains a catastrophic injury, the child may develop permanent impairments or disabilities. For example, a traumatic brain injury could result in lifelong learning and developmental delays.
Parents can file personal injury claims on behalf of their children seeking compensation for a variety of damages. Personal injury cases involving children can be complicated. The future damages for ongoing care and loss of income usually require the assistance of various experts to estimate the value of these damages.
A child may require extensive mental health treatment to overcome fear, depression, and PTSD. Some children require occupational and physical therapy. The cost of these services can be overwhelming for parents.
Working with a child injury lawyer is essential. An experienced child injury lawyer understands the unique requirements and issues related to cases involving childhood injuries.
While children may have additional time to file personal injury claims if they are minors at the time of the injury, parents should not assume they have unlimited time to file injury claims for their children. Depending on the facts of the case and the type of case, deadlines for filing lawsuits for childhood injuries could be short.
Talking to an attorney as soon as possible ensures that you do not miss any personal injury deadlines. It also helps you avoid errors or mistakes that could hurt your child’s injury claim.