Personal Injury and Wrongful Death cases are the cornerstone of Gilde Law Firm’s practice. Our firm has a strong history of pursuing justice for plaintiffs against negligent or reckless individuals or companies in complex personal injury cases. Our attorneys have litigated cases involving personal injuries and wrongful death arising from severe automobile and truck accidents, product malfunctions, chemical releases, toxic exposure, plant explosions, construction accidents, premises liability, and workplace injuries.

The careless and reckless actions of a defendant may leave a wake of potential plaintiffs in a Personal Injury or Wrongful Death case because the law recognizes that an individual loss may affect others – like our loved ones. The first step in any personal injury or wrongful death action is to determine who the potential plaintiffs are. Because of the statute of limitations, a time period that may close the door on a plaintiff’s right to a remedy, determining who is a potential plaintiff is paramount. Potential plaintiffs in the following type claims may include the following:

Incident Resulting In Nonfatal Injuries – Personal Injury Incident Resulting In Death – Wrongful Death Beneficiaries Incident Resulting In Death – Survivorship Action
Potential Plaintiffs Potential Plaintiffs Potential Plaintiffs
Victim Spouse – loss of consortium Adult Children – loss of consortium
Spouse – loss of consortium Adult Children – loss of consortium Minor Children – loss of consortium
Estate Estate Representative (e.g. Spouse, Child, etc.)
Parents – loss of consortium Dependents – loss of consortium
Dependents – loss of consortium

As is clear from above, a single incident has a rippling effect on our loved ones. In a suit where catastrophic injuries have such a rippling effect and the victim is still alive, we may take legal action styled as follows:

  • John Doe (Victim); Jane Doe (Spouse) Individually, and Next of Friend to Her Minor Children J.D.; and John Doe, Jr. (Adult Child), Plaintiffs vs. Careless Corporation, Defendant.

In the example above, four (4) plaintiffs are represented in the suit because each has their own claims. That is, John Doe may have claims for his pain and suffering, medical expenses, lost income, etc. His spouse and children may have derivative claims for their own individual loss known as loss of consortium, which may include the loss of love, support, companionship, comfort, guidance, marital relations, etc. This is a typical personal injury case where the victim is not deceased.

In a wrongful death case where the victim is deceased, we may take legal action styled as follows:

  • Jane Doe (Spouse), as Personal Representative of the Estate of John Doe, deceased (Victim), Individually, and Next of Friend to Her Minor Children J.D.; and John Doe, Jr. (Adult Child), Plaintiffs vs. Careless Corporation, Defendant.

Here, like the first styled case above, four (4) plaintiffs are represented in this suit – (i) the Estate, (ii) the spouse individually, (iii) the minor child, and (iv) the adult child. Also, you will note that in the wrongful death case with a deceased victim BOTH a Wrongful Death Action and Survivorship Action is brought. The above illustrates that it is important that no potential plaintiff is left out, and no law says that a child is too old to recover for the loss of his/her parent, etc.

When someone’s wrongful act or omission causes the death of another, that personal injury claim also gives rise to a Wrongful Death claim. In a wrongful death case, the family of the deceased has the right to file a lawsuit against the responsible party for monetary damages. In Texas, a Wrongful Death claim is available to the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and parents – a right granted by statute.
A Wrongful Death claim is sometimes confused with Survivorship or Survival Actions, but the two claims are actually very different. A Survival Action allows the deceased’s estate to assert a claim for the decedent’s injuries before he/she died. Specifically, the Survival Action allows the estate to recover for the decedent’s pain and suffering from the time of the injury until the death, as well as the economic losses suffered by the decedent. In other words, the law allows the estate to “take over” the personal-injury claim that the decedent would have had if he/she had not died.

There are at least three important differences between a Survival Action and a Wrongful Death claim.  First, the Survival Action is brought by the decedent’s estate, which requires the initiation of probate proceedings to determine a representative. Second, the family members ordinarily may not recover for their personal losses in the Survival action. Instead, their remedy is through a Wrongful Death claim. Third, the damages recovered in a Survival Action go to the estate, not directly to the family members and are distributed among the family members as set out in the decedent’s will or, if there is no will, pursuant to state law.

We Believe: Accidents can be prevented. We believe in this litigation, and we believe you.

We Fight: Litigating against large corporations, their insurance companies, and their endless resources is extremely challenging and adversarial. Gilde Law Firm knows how to fight for your interests.

We Win: We will work to obtain the full measure of justice for your injuries, losses, or the death of your loved one.

Contact an experienced Personal Injury Lawyer and Wrongful Death Lawyer. Time is of the essence. Don’t delay – contact us today.