If your parent dies due to negligence, you may be able to recover financial damages for their wrongful death. Learn how it works.
Money won’t replace the void in your life if you lose a parent because of someone else’s carelessness.
Ancient societies, especially the Babylonians, would often handle wrongful death cases by executing the perpetrator of the careless act.
That’s not how we handle these situations anymore.
Monetary damages and jail time are the way we hold people accountable for their negligent actions in modern society.
What money does though, is help you take care of the financial problems that often result without your loved one’s income.
How Much Compensation Can Children Recover for Their Parent’s Wrongful Death?
First, it depends on the status of you as a child. Were you dependent on your parent financially?
If you’re not, you probably won’t be able to recover too much in damages. The point of a wrongful death claim is to help you deal with current and future “financial losses” that result from your parent’s death.
Since you’re financially independent from your parents, you don’t have much to lose. However, you may be able to recover damages for losing the relationship with your deceased parent. And you may be able to get damages for loss of prospective contribution.
If all children are adults, the best legal strategy might be to split the surviving spouse’s damages with all children. That’s because the surviving spouse has the strongest claim, as they were to some extent financially dependent on the deceased spouse.
If you’re a minor child or adoptee of a parent that experiences wrongful death, you’re also entitled to recover compensation. Illegitimate children also have the right to recover. But, they must have clear and convincing evidence they’re in fact the children of the deceased.
What Types of Damages Can You Recover?
As long as Texas law entitles you to compensation for the wrongful death of your parent, you can recover damages for:
- The loss of care, advice, counsel and financial contributions you would have received from your loved one (legally called “pecuniary loss”).
- Loss of the benefits of love and companionship you would have received from your deceased loved one (“loss of companionship and society”)
- Emotional pain and suffering you experienced because of the death of your loved one ( “mental anguish”)
- Loss of inheritance you would have likely received from your loved one (“loss of inheritance”)
After considering these factors, the jury then divides the damages among the individuals entitled to receive them.
Exemplary damages, those intended to punish the party who committed the act resulting in your loved one’s wrongful death, can be collected by surviving spouses and descendants of the deceased person’s bloodline (“heirs of the body”).
Exact Amounts You Can Recover Depend On…
- The circumstances surrounding the death of your loved one
- The skill of the personal injury lawyer representing your case
So it’s important to hire a personal injury lawyer that takes your case as seriously as they would representing their own family members.