You are probably very familiar with homicide crimes – those involving manslaughter and murder. In these situations, the perpetrator killed the victim out of “passion” or in the worst cases, the murder was premeditated. Meaning, the perpetrator planned the killing.
You’ve probably watched plenty of crime shows on TV or seen enough action movies to have an excellent grasp on homicide crimes, which lead to serious criminal charges under the Texas Penal Code, but what about those accidental killings? What happens to the individuals who accidentally take other people’s lives? Do they get sued?
Wrongful Death Claims Defined
If a death was an accident, or if it occurred because the at-fault party was careless or negligent, then he or she can be sued for wrongful death under Chapter 71of the Civil Practice and Remedies Code. In Texas, a person or other entity, such as a business, etc. can be sued for wrongful death if the death was caused by the defendant’s (at-fault party) carelessness, wrongful act, or neglect.
“But what if the defendant faces criminal charges? Does that mean that the victim’s family cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit against the defendant?” As a matter of fact, a victim’s surviving family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against a perpetrator, even if he or she is facing criminal charges or has already been convicted and sentenced for the crime in question. In other words, a criminal case does not bar the victim’s family from filing a wrongful death action at the same time.
In the case of crime victims who are killed, it is very common for a wrongful death action to be filed against another responsible party’s insurance; for example, against a store, motel, or business where the deadly assault took place.
Next: Anatomy of a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas
Under Texas law, wrongful death actions must be filed within two years of the decedent’s death. So, if you have a claim in Plano, contact The Zendeh Del Law Firm, PLLC right away so you don’t miss this small window of opportunity.