Tyler, Texas Wrongful Death
A Texas wrongful death claim usually involves both a wrongful death claim and a survival claim. A wrongful death claim is the claim made by certain family members arising out of the death of a loved one. Children, spouses, and parents have a legal right under Texas law to bring a wrongful death claim. The value placed on these claims varies greatly depending on the age and relationship of the claimant to the deceased. For example, minor children tend to have the largest of the claims because they have lost a parent during the years when parenting is most important. The claim of an adult child for the loss of a parent may be valued somewhat less depending on the personal and economic relationship. The claims of middle-aged children for the loss of an elderly or infirm parent vary greatly and are often assigned rather modest values by juries.
Legally adopted children have a right to make a claim for the loss of their adoptive parents while step-children who have not been adopted do not have a right to make a wrongful death claim. Estranged spouses, even those who may have had no contact with the deceased for many years, nonetheless technically have a right to make a wrongful death claim but the damages may be difficult to prove. Common law spouses have a right to make a wrongful death claim if they can prove a common law marriage. Common law claimants must establish that the parties intended to be married and held themselves out to the community as man and wife.
Wrongful death claims are governed by Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practices and Remedies Code which provides that a person is liable for damages caused by that person’s or his agent’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, or default. The recoverable damages include the mental and emotional trauma sustained as a result of the loss of a loved one, the loss of care, comfort, and society, and the loss of financial support.
A Survival claim is the claim of the deceased’s estate which “survives” to the estate. Survival claims are governed by Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 71.021. The estate has a right to make a claim for all of the normal personal injury damages which accrued prior to death. Thus the deceased’s estate has a right to make a claim for physical pain and mental anguish, physical impairment, medical expenses incurred prior to death, and funeral expenses, together with the loss of future earnings. The recovery of the estate passes to the deceased’s heirs pursuant to the will of the deceased, if one exists, or by intestate succession.
Tyler, Texas, is located in Smith County in the heart of East Texas. Tyler has become both the commercial and banking center for all of East Texas and an educational center being the home of the University of Texas at Tyler and Tyler Junior College. The medical community includes East Texas Medical Center, Trinity Mother Frances Health System, and the University of Texas Health Center at Tyler. Tyler is the county seat of Smith County and its courts include three county courts at law with expanded jurisdiction, four state district courts, and the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Texas – Tyler Division. Thus there are numerous courts in which a Tyler Texas wrongful death attorney might file a serious personal injury case. Earl Drott has handled serious personal injury cases in all of the local courts.
Wrongful death and survival claims are considerably more complex than personal injury claims and actually involve the combination of multiple claims and claimants. An attorney handling a wrongful death and survival claim should be experienced in all aspects and issues involved in such claims.
Earl Drott Law is located in South Tyler. From the Smith County courthouse square in downtown Tyler proceed south on Broadway Avenue to the intersection with Front Street. Turn left on Front Street and proceed to the intersection with Beckham Avenue. Turn right on Beckham Avenue and proceed south until the intersection of South Beckham Avenue/Highway 110 and Golden Road. The Bank of America building will be on the right. Earl Drott Law is located on the fourth floor of the Bank of America building.