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Popular Wrongful Death Question:

What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Case?

In a wrongful death case, damages can include:

  1. Economic Damages: Covering medical, funeral, and financial losses like lost income and services the deceased would have provided.

  2. Non-Economic Damages: Compensating for pain, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and, in some cases, punitive damages for extreme misconduct.

Laws and eligibility for claims vary by jurisdiction, so consult an attorney for guidance specific to your situation.


Losing a loved one is never easy. If another person’s negligence causes the loss, it can be particularly hard to bear. When you have lost a loved one, you need a team that will fight for your best interests

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What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?


A wrongful death claim arises when a person dies due to the careless, reckless or intentional wrongdoing of another individual, company or government agency. A wrongful death claim seeks to compensate eligible surviving family members of a deceased individual for the harm caused by the loved one’s untimely passing. Some of the more common causes of wrongful death in Abilene are:

  • Car accidents
  • Truck accidents
  • Motorcycle accidents
  • Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
  • Dangerous property conditions
  • Construction site accidents
  • Defective products
  • Medical malpractice
  • Asbestos exposure (mesothelioma)
  • Oil field accidents.

If a person dies because of the negligence of another person or entity, his or her death is considered wrongful and, in turn, compensable. In these instances, it is always wise for the victim’s family members to consult with an Abilene wrongful death attorney regarding their options for a recovery.

Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim?


Texas law establishes who can file a wrongful death claim after a loved one’s death. The victim’s surviving spouse, children or parents may file a claim – either individually or as a group. A child may file a claim following a parent’s death even if he or she is an adult, or age 18 or older. A child who was legally adopted is also eligible to file a claim based on an adoptive parent’s wrongful death, and adoptive parents may file a claim based on the adoptive child’s death. Siblings and grandparents cannot file a claim.

Timing is important in a Texas wrongful death claim. If the surviving spouse, children or parents do not file a claim within three months after a loved one’s death, then the executor of the victim’s estate (or personal representative) may file the claim. However, family members who are eligible to file a claim can move to block that lawsuit.

Because of the timing concerns, you should contact the wrongful death attorneys of KRW through our Abilene office as soon as you are ready to act after your loved one’s untimely passing.

What Compensation Is Available in a Wrongful Death Claim?


A wrongful death claim in Texas seeks to compensate a victim’s family members for the harms caused by the deceased’s death. Damages may include but are not limited to the following:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of the deceased victim’s financial support
  • Loss of the deceased victim’s services
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Emotional pain and suffering (or mental anguish)
  • Exemplary damages (in exceptional cases where a willful act or omission or gross negligence causes the death).

The parties can agree how to distribute the proceeds from a wrongful death settlement or ask a court to do it. If a case goes to trial, a judge or jury will distribute the judgment. Two key factors will be the degree to which survivors were financially dependent on the deceased victim and the expenses incurred as a result of the accident and subsequent death.

What is the Deadline for Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?


The Texas wrongful death statute of limitations limits the amount of time that you have after a loved one’s death in which to bring a lawsuit. Generally, you must file the lawsuit within two years after your loved one’s death. If you fail to file the lawsuit within that time period, your claim likely would be dismissed.

It is important to point out the difference between a wrongful death claim and a survival claim. The latter is essentially a personal injury claim that survives the victim’s death, and it seeks compensation for damages that the deceased victim suffered as the result of another’s wrongful conduct before the death occurred. For instance, the survival claim may seek compensation for the victim’s medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. 



Our lawyers offer clients a range of integrated global capabilities, including some of the world’s most active M&A, real estate, financial services, litigation and corporate risk practices.

  • Henry Wollam


    Primary Practice

    Accidents & Injury


    San Antonio
  • R. Scott Westlund

    Managing Partner

    Primary Practice

    Accidents & Injury


    San Antonio
  • Primary Practice

    Accidents & Injury


    San Antonio
  • Primary Practice

    Asbestos & Mesothelioma


    Baton Rouge

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Contacting the firm is free. We understand what you are going through, and we are here to help get the justice you deserve.

Questions to ask

When seeking representation for a personal injury case, it’s essential to ask your potential lawyer the right questions to ensure you have the best possible representation for your situation. Here are eight key questions you might consider asking:

  • Experience and Specialization
    • “How long have you been practicing personal injury law, and is it your primary area of expertise?”
  • Case Assessment
    • “Based on the details I’ve provided, what is your assessment of my case, and what potential challenges do you foresee?”
  • Previous Results
    • “Can you provide examples of similar cases you’ve handled and their outcomes?”
  • Representation Structure
    • “Do you work on a contingency fee basis? If so, what percentage of the settlement or judgment will you take as your fee? Are there any upfront costs or fees?”
  • Litigation Experience
    • “If my case needs to go to trial, do you have trial experience, and how often do you go to court for your clients?”
  • Case Management
    • “Who will be handling my case primarily – you or another attorney? Will I have direct access to the attorney handling my case?”
  • Timeline and Communication
    • “What is the general timeline for a case like mine? How frequently will you update me, and what is your preferred method of communication?”
  • Potential Outcomes
    • “What are the potential outcomes for my case, both best-case and worst-case scenarios? How will we handle possible settlement offers?”