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Sawicki Law Firm Blog

Saturday, June 24, 2017

The Far-Reaching Impact of Wrongful Death on Families

Q: Who can sue for wrongful death?

When a loved one is killed, the emotional burden on those left behind is unbearable. In addition, close surviving relatives are often left with significant financial burdens due to the unexpected loss.

When a victim dies as a result of the negligent, reckless, or malicious actions or inactions of another person or entity, certain close surviving relatives may be entitled to commence a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party or parties. A skilled wrongful death attorney will be able to evaluate the particular circumstances and advise as to which, if any, of the victim’s survivors has grounds for a lawsuit.

Wrongful death actions are complex and determining who has standing to sue and what damages might be recovered is something that must be done on a case-by-case basis. Generally, parents, children, and spouses, as well as the victim’s estate commence wrongful death actions. However, siblings, grandparents and others may be entitled as well, particularly if they relied on the victim for financial support.

Compensatory damages in a wrongful death lawsuit may include costs related to the death itself, such as medical and burial expenses, as well as loss of income and support, companionship, pain and suffering, and more depending on the relationship and the facts of each case.

A recent Texas tragedy where a 15-year-old black teen was shot and killed by a white police officer in the presence of his two brothers illustrates the complexities of wrongful death lawsuit.

The teen, described by as an exceptional student and athlete and friend, was reportedly leaving an unsupervised house party that had become unruly and was with his two brothers and others driving away when the officer fired his rifle at the vehicle. The teen was struck in the head and killed.  As the investigations unfolded, the police officer was subsequently fired.

The boy’s father, who had full custody for the past 10 years, filed a wrongful death lawsuit against the city of Balch Springs and the former police officer who fired the fatal shot. He filed the lawsuit on behalf of the teens estate "for his son and stepson – who were witnesses to the shooting and, according to the suit, illegally detained". The teen’s mother subsequently joined the wrongful death lawsuit as well. Her attorney claimed the death was a "tremendous loss" and that "parents look to children to help them out in their old age and (the teens) not going to be able to do that for her" nor provide her with grandbabies.

If a loved one has been killed in a motor vehicle collision, through medical malpractice, or in any other manner due to the negligent actions of another person or entity, Sawicki Law has the knowledge to successfully litigate a wrongful death lawsuit and compassionately help you through this difficult time. Call us at 888-468-8844 for a free consultation. From our offices in Dallas, we serve clients throughout Texas as well as those injured while visiting Texas.


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