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Wrongful death | Answering common legal questions

When a Houston resident dies because of someone's negligent action, his or her loved ones often embark upon an emotional journey in pursuit of answers. Some of these answers they must find on their own, but when it comes to the legal aspect of wrongful death, an attorney is a great resource. Helping the bereaved come to terms with the legal side of wrongful death can bring a degree of peace to the victim's family.

The information offered here is basic, but it can put you on the right path. You can get more personalized assistance by consulting with a personal injury lawyer about the details of your loved one's death.

If you find yourself wondering what a wrongful death claim actually is, you are not alone. It is a civil claim rather than a criminal case, which means it is a way for the victim's family to hold a negligent party accountable for their loved one's death. Often, it means that the defendant must make amends through a monetary judgment.

Family members also have many questions about their loved one's final moments, hours or days. They worry that the victim suffered during this time and want to know if they can include pain and suffering in a legal action. The basic answer is yes, but it is wise to discuss the pain and suffering element in depth with a lawyer.

Finally, wanting to punish the negligent party is often on the minds of family members who have lost a loved one to wrongful death. Texas law allows the bereaved to seek exemplary damages in addition to actual damages if the death occurred due to gross negligence, a willful act or willful omission.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death FAQ," accessed Feb. 20, 2017

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