Unfortunately, there are many cases where a victim succumbs to his or her injuries or illness while a personal injury lawsuit is ongoing. In this scenario, the victim’s family surviving family members or an administrator of the estate may continue the lawsuit on the victim’s behalf. However, in Texas, it will become a different type of lawsuit once a family member takes over. Having a wrongful death lawyer on your side in this scenario can help you achieve the results that your loved one and family deserve.

What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Texas, it is possible to file a civil lawsuit in pursuit of financial compensation for the death of a loved one that occurs due to wrongful or preventable means. The state’s definition of wrongful death is a death caused by someone else’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default (Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 71.002). 

If you lost someone you loved in a preventable accident, such as a car accident or workplace disaster in San Antonio, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, even if the injured individual had filed a personal injury claim prior to death. A successful wrongful death claim can result in financial compensation for surviving family members’ mental anguish, grief, loss of consortium, funeral and burial costs, lost earnings from the decedent, and more. 

In Texas, a deceased individual’s surviving spouse, child or parent can file a wrongful death claim. If these parties do not come forward within three months of the date of the victim’s death, the personal representative of the estate can file instead. No cause of action may be brought after two years of the date of the decedent’s death, however. Any damages (financial compensation) won in a wrongful death claim will be divided among surviving family members and beneficiaries.

What Is a Survival Action?

A survival action is a continuation of the deceased victim’s personal injury claim that was filed before the date of death. Section 71.021 of Texas law states that a personal injury cause of action does not abate because of the death of the injured person. Instead, it “survives” and becomes a survival action, which allows the decedent’s beneficiaries, legal representative and estate to recover financial compensation from the liable party. A survival action will continue as if the deceased person were alive.

A survival action is an entirely separate type of claim from a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. Surviving family members of the decedent may have grounds to file both types of cases simultaneously. If a survival action succeeds, it can compensate the deceased person’s estate for losses suffered by the deceased individual. These losses may include pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages and property damage. Any damages obtained in a survival action will go to the decedent’s estate for distribution rather than directly to surviving loved ones.

Why You Need to Contact a Lawyer

You and your family are facing a complicated legal process if a loved one passes away while pursuing a personal injury claim in Texas. With help from an experienced wrongful death attorney in San Antonio, however, you can protect your family’s rights and pursue justice on behalf of your loved one. An attorney can help you go up against one or more defendants in pursuit of financial compensation for many different losses. 

Whether your family has grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit, a survival action or both, an attorney can help you with the claims process and negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf. For more information and legal advice as to what to do if a family member passes away while pursuing a personal injury claim in Texas, contact The Law Offices of Maloney & Campolo for a free consultation. We are here for grieving families in San Antonio.