Austin, TX (Law Firm Newswire) January 13, 2022 – February was one of the worst months for Texas in history. More than 100 died in the freezing weather because there was no power. As the nation watched in shock, families began to mourn their lost loved ones who froze to death. While this news has not been talked about much since February, the fact is the wrongful death lawsuits are still being filed against ONCOR and ERCOT energy.
One of the more recent filings deals with Leobardo Sanchez of Deep Ellum. His nickname was the Cotton Candy Man because he sold the confection in the neighborhood. His body was found wrapped in blankets as he tried to keep warm with whatever he had on hand. It was not enough.
A civil rights attorney for the Sanchez family is seeking over $1 million in a wrongful death lawsuit, against the named defendants ONCOR and ERCOT. In documents filed with the wrongful death lawsuit, it is alleged that ERCOT had received recommendations to upgrade the grid as far back as 1983, and then again in 2011. ONCOR is a named defendant as it provided power to the Sanchez home.
Wrongful Death Definition
In the U.S., wrongful death is a cause of action that may be filed when a person or entity wrongfully causes another’s death. Every state has a different wrongful death statute, but the origin of this law arises from Lord Campbell’s Act passed in 1846 by the UK Parliament.
In Texas, the family of the deceased loved one brings two types of claims: a wrongful death claim, seeking compensation for the death, and a survival claim, to recover for the deceased’s pain and suffering while the deceased was still conscious, funeral costs, and/or punitive damages. The wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas is two years from the date of the victim’s demise. But be aware, that there can be other limitations with shorter time frames due to other statutes.
The Difference Between a Civil Lawsuit and a Criminal Case
The main difference is that a criminal case can only be filed by the government, with a prosecutor filing a case against an individual ore entity accused of a crime. There is a higher standard of proof required than in a civil case. When a plaintiff files a wrongful lawsuit, they are seeking compensation for the loss of the deceased. A criminal case may involve a trial for manslaughter or murder and can result in jail time.
Compensation Available for a Wrongful Death Claim
A family member who files a wrongful death lawsuit or claim may recover two types of damages – actual and exemplary.
Actual damages may include:
Financial losses – this could be losing the income of the deceased person, and the value of care they would have provided to the family. Care provided may include support, advice, services, and counsel.
Loss of inheritance – this refers to what the deceased would have left behind had they lived their normal life span.
Mental anguish – this refers to the plaintiff’s emotional pain as a result of the death of a loved family member.
Loss of real benefits provided by the deceased, such as comfort, love, and companionship.
Exemplary damages may include:
Damages recoverable when the deceased’s death was the result of a defendant’s willful act, omission, or gross negligence.
“If you have lost a loved one in an accident, reach out to my office. I can outline your legal options and how you can move forward to file a claim. I can explain how the claim moves forward, what to expect and what is needed to prove such a claim,” said Schuelke.
Schuelke Law PLLC
3011 N. Lamar Blvd
Austin, TX 78705
Call (512) 476-4944
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