A trial date was set in a wrongful death lawsuit, filed in connection with the Sandra Bland case, during a federal court hearing in Houston in late December.
Bland’s case made national headlines and intensified racial tensions after she was found deceased in a Waller County jail cell in mid-July 2015. Though an autopsy revealed the cause of death to be suicide, Bland’s family has widely disputed that finding, citing the belief that Bland would never have taken her own life.
While no cause for Bland’s alleged suicide is known, evidence has been revealed that details the events leading up to her death. Most notably, Bland, who was African-American, was seen on dash camera footage in a tense confrontation with a Texas Department of Public Safety trooper after being pulled over and refusing to put out a cigarette.
Court documents also reveal that the federal wrongful death claim was filed by Bland’s mother and estate. However, both the state of Texas and the trooper involved in the case have claimed immunity, and have filed motions requesting that the case be thrown out.
Currently, the trial connected to the case is expected to convene in January of 2017.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death can best be defined as the sudden loss of life due to someone or something’s careless actions, or inactions. These types of cases are most commonly seen in cases involving improper medical care or defective products, but can also stem from:
- Premises liability
- Auto or truck wrecks
- Airplane accidents
- Offshore accidents
- Work-related incidents
The important thing to remember about wrongful death is that you must possess proper evidence that demonstrates that the party in question acted knowingly in a careless and dangerous manner. You also have to prove that the accident could have been avoided, had they demonstrated reasonable caution.
It is also important to note that not everyone can file this type of legal claim. Though laws vary on a state-by-state basis, typically these cases are reserved for kin. In the state of Texas, certain individuals are allowed to file a wrongful death claim – spouses, parents or children of the deceased.
If you or someone you know has lost a loved one to the negligent behavior of another person or entity in Texas, then you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim in this state. In Houston and the surrounding communities in Southeast Texas, our attorneys are very experienced in handling wrongful death claims.
At Charles J. Argento & Associates, our skilled, accomplished, and compassionate personal injury attorneys understand that it is never easy dealing with the sudden passing of a loved one, and that’s why we work tirelessly on behalf of our clients to recover any and all potential damages.
Our firm is bilingual in English and Spanish, and we are happy to offer our assistance on a contingency basis, meaning you don’t pay any fees until we successfully negotiate your case.
Damages Available in a Houston Wrongful Death Case
When someone dies as the result of another person or corporation’s error or wrongful act, the spouse, children, or parents of the victim have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and seek compensation for their loss. Family members and the victim’s estate may seek the following types of damages in a claim filed after a wrongful death:
- Lost earning capacity: This is compensation for the money that the victim would have earned during their lifetime for their family, had they not died.
- Lost inheritance: This is compensation for the amount of money that the family members of the victim would have expected to receive as an inheritance from the victim, had the individual survived and continued earning money.
- Lost companionship and society: This is compensation for the lost support, comfort, and company that the deceased would have continued to provide to their spouse, family members, or children had they survived.
- Survivor damages: The personal representative of the person who died may also seek the damages that the deceased person would have had a right to recover in a personal injury claim, had they not died. These could include damages for the victim’s pain and suffering before they died, as well as their medical expenses.
- Exemplary Damages: When the death was caused by either gross negligence or a willful act or omission, the family may be entitled to exemplary damages. These damages are intended to punish the defendant for an especially careless or intentional act that resulted in the victim’s death, to deter similar wrongful conduct in others.
If you need help seeking money damages after losing a loved one in a Texas auto accident, contact the knowledgeable and dedicated Houston wrongful death lawyer Charles J. Argento & Associates for a no-cost, confidential consultation on your case, at 713-225-5050.