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Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts in Texas: What to Expect

  1. Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts in Texas: What to Expect
  2. What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement in Texas?
  3. How Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Calculated in Texas?
  4. What About Criminal Charges?
  5. Experienced Attorneys Increase the Chance of Full and Fair Wrongful Death Settlements
  6. Will Adams Law Firm Is Ready to Help With Your Wrongful Death Claim

Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts in Texas: What to Expect

Losing a loved one is devastating—not only emotionally, but oftentimes financially as well. Dealing with the grief is bad enough, without having to also worry about how you’ll support yourself and your family in the years to come.

No amount of money could ever truly replace the loved one you lost. However, when the death was caused by someone else’s wrongful act, pursuing a wrongful death case and negotiating a reasonable settlement can provide peace of mind and help ensure you and your family’s financial and emotional needs are addressed.

In this post we’ll outline the damages loved ones often claim after a wrongful death and the factors to consider as you move forward with your case. We’ll also clarify how an experienced wrongful death attorney can support you through the process and increase your chance of full and fair compensation.

What Is the Average Wrongful Death Settlement in Texas?

Wrongful death settlement amounts in Texas depend on the specific circumstances of each case—the events that caused the death, financial losses, emotional costs, etc. No true average settlement amount exists, and the range of possible settlement values is extremely wide.

However, knowing what survivors are typically compensated for can help you get a sense of what to expect for your specific situation.

How Is a Wrongful Death Settlement Calculated in Texas?

Texas wrongful death claims are brought to support the surviving family members by helping they pay costs, plan for the future, and get some closure after the unexpected loss of a loved one.

While we can’t provide a standard settlement amount for the typical wrongful death settlement, we can list the things you may be eligible to claim and seek compensation for.

Wrongful death settlements tend to cover two major types of compensation: economic and non-economic. Punitive damages may also be considered in some situations.

Economic Damages

Economic damages are losses you can measure or estimate in specific dollar amounts. This usually includes medical expenses (before the death itself), lost future wages, lost inheritances, and funeral and burial costs. You may hear phrases like “loss of household services” to refer to how the deceased person helped keep the home.

We advise family members to hold on to all their bills, receipts, and other financial documentation to make the economic damages easier to calculate.

Non-Economic Damages

Non-economic damages are losses that can’t be measured by specific dollar amounts. This can include what might be called pain and suffering, mental anguish, and emotional distress. You may hear phrases like “loss of companionship, comfort, and advice.”

You might think it’s impossible to put a price on something like the loss of a lifetime of love, protection, or guidance. And to some degree, that’s true. But in a wrongful death case, financial compensation is the only benefit you can seek. Texas recognizes that non-economic damages are serious and traumatic for survivors, and so non-economic damages typically represent a significant portion of the financial settlement.

We advise loved ones bringing a wrongful death case to keep notes on the mental and emotional pain caused by the loss of their loved one. Your personal injury attorney will use the information to negotiate for fair compensation.

Note that non-economic damages are capped at $500,000 (and $250,000 per provider in the event of multiple defendants) in Texas medical malpractice wrongful death cases. These caps do not apply to other wrongful death cases in the state.

Punitive Damages

Punitive damages serve only to punish the at-fault party and discourage their negligent behavior in the future, rather than being tied to specific economic or non-economic damages suffered by the victims. (However, the damages are still awarded to the survivors bringing the wrongful death claim.)

Because they’re meant to “make an example” of the negligent parties, punitive damages are awarded relatively rarely. Usually, the personal or organization at fault needs to demonstrate especially reckless behavior with flagrant disregard for the safety of others.

Factors That Might Influence Wrongful Death Settlement Amounts

Certain losses are more complicated to calculate after a wrongful death. For example, an injured person can add up their lost wages quite easily. But when a loved one dies and the family needs compensation for their future lost wages, the amounts are suddenly less obvious.

Factors that might influence the amount of your compensation include:

  • The age of the person at their death: Someone in their 20s had decades of earning potential to influence a settlement amount, while someone in their 70s had already earned most of their wages.
  • Their general health while alive: The level to which someone’s overall health contributed to their death may influence the settlement.
  • Whether they contributed to the accident at all: Texas’ rule of comparative fault dictates that partial responsibility for an accident can reduce how much compensation wronged parties are eligible for.
  • Their typical roles in the household: Losing a family member who takes care of all home repairs, auto maintenance, or childcare impacts survivors more than someone who was relatively inactive.

Figuring out all your damages and getting the at-fault party’s insurance company to agree on a settlement amount is challenging. Your best bet is to work with a legal professional.

RELATED: What Families Should Know About Texas Wrongful Death Statute

“Will treats his clients with great kindness and compassion. He fully understands the pain and injustice each victim is going through. This compassion and understanding allows Will to prosecute your case to the fullest. Will is tenacious in pursuing what he feels is the correct settlement for his clients.”

- B & ES – Dallas, TX

“Will, Chris & Sarah. K and I just want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us and our family. Throughout this process you have kept us informed and been patient with us (especially me) as we navigated through unchartered territory. Putting things in your hands allowed Karl and I to focus on him getting better.”

- SC – Katy, TX

“Hi Will, I just wanted to take a minute and let you and your wonderful staff know just how much we appreciate each one of you! All of you have been so great to us. Y’all have always answered any and all questions immediately and never left us hanging or wondering about anything. All of you have made this.”

- SB – Katy, TX

"Dear Sarah, you are the best legal assistant in the history of such creatures of legend and lore. (And Brian is in the tribe too) Do take a copy of this email to your next annual performance review... you have raised the bar. Thank you for all your help!"

- AM – Houston, TX

"I wanted to thank you both for a job well done and for an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. I appreciated your expertise and your thoroughness of preparation, as well as keeping me informed of the possible outcomes at each major point.Will, I think that Chris did an excellent job and wanted to bring that to your attention."

- MJ – Katy, TX

What About Criminal Charges?

Sometimes the person responsible for a wrongful death acted so recklessly that a civil trial and punitive damages doesn’t seem like enough.

It’s possible that the events leading to a wrongful death case will also lead to a criminal case, with the at-fault party potentially facing punishments like jail time and other punitive measures (rather than compensation for survivors).

Understand that your wrongful death case (if it goes into the court system) is a civil matter and handled in a different court system than criminal cases. Just because the person who wronged you is charged with a crime (or even convicted of it) does not mean that you will automatically be awarded compensation. You will still have to file your own wrongful death claim.

Experienced Attorneys Increase the Chance of Full and Fair Wrongful Death Settlements

During a time of intense grief, the last thing you should have to worry about is navigating a wrongful death case on your own. Not only is it emotionally demanding, but it’s also complex. The money you are pursuing should bring you peace of mind, not additional stress.

An experienced wrongful death lawyer knows Texas law and is accustomed to dealing with insurance companies and the healthcare system in all kinds of personal injury claims. They maintain a network of medical and accident reconstructionists who know how to find and present evidence of another’s negligent behavior.

For example, if you bring a wrongful death case for a young child, factors like earning potential are difficult to determine. Working with an attorney gives you access to someone who has likely dealt with a similar situation before, and who isn’t as emotionally close to the death as family members. Your attorney can build your case and help you maximize your potential settlement while you focus on your family and your emotional wellbeing.

RELATED: How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out in Texas?

Will Adams Law Firm Is Ready to Help With Your Wrongful Death Claim

At Will Adams Law Firm, we don’t sue just for the sake of suing. As a family firm with deep roots in the Katy area, we care deeply about the people we represent, and want to help grieving families get the wrongful death settlements they need to feel safe and secure after the loss of a loved one.

If your family is going through a significant loss, and suspects that your family member’s death was caused by the negligence of another person or entity, you need to work with Texas wrongful death attorneys who will work for every dime you deserve.

We begin every wrongful death case with a free consultation. To schedule yours today, call (281) 371-6345 or complete the easy contact form on our website today.

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

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