Types of Economic Damages in Texas Wrongful Death & Survival Actions

There are various types of losses a Texas personal injury attorney can recover for an injured claimant. In San Antonio wrongful death cases , for example, medical, funeral, and burial expenses can be recovered in a survival action brought by the executor of the estate. Medical and funeral expenses are also recoverable in wrongful death actions, but recovery is strictly limited to those expenses actually incurred by the beneficiaries.

In an action for wrongful death, the beneficiary can recover medical expenses provided the beneficiary had a legal obligation to pay for those expenses. In addition, an estate can recover punitive damages in a survival action, but parents cannot recover exemplary / punitive damages for a child’s death. Any expenses must also be reasonable in order to have recovery.

In a survival or wrongful death action, there is also recovery for pecuniary losses such as the value of the care, support, and services, a plaintiff would have received if the deceased individual had lived. There must be evidence the deceased family member provided such support and services. Expenses for psychological counseling also fall under the realm of pecuniary losses and may be recovered in wrongful death actions.

When an adult child has died, the parents are entitled to pecuniary damages relating to care and maintenance that the parent would have received from the adult child if he had not died. /for example, in the Ledezma case, the jury awarded $215,000 in pecuniary losses to the mother of an adult child who had supported his family since the age of seven.

Under the Texas Wrongful Death Act, the beneficiary may assert damages for loss of inheritance. The loss of inheritance damages are determined by estimating the amount the decedent would have left the beneficiaries if not for the premature death or accident. If for some reason, the deceased injured party would have outlived the beneficiary, then inheritance damages would be denied. There must also be enough evidence in the record to place a dollar figure on the likely estate value at the end of a normal life as well as the present value if the estate in order for such inheritance damages to be awarded.

Wrongful death claimants and survival beneficiaries are also entitled to lost earnings. A loss of earnings capacity damages claim is not limited by the deceased’s salary prior to injury. For example, a plaintiff has been found entitled to loss of earnings capacity damages when the deceased was unemployed at the time of injury.


There is a distinction between loss of earnings capacity damages and loss of earnings damages. In contrast to loss of earnings capacity, to obtain loss of earnings damages, the wrongful death plaintiff must demonstrate with reasonable certainty that actual amount of lost past earnings. It must also be shown that the plaintiff who was killed had capacity to work prior to the injury and the injury seriously hurt that capacity. Moreover, any past employment that can illuminate what the plaintiff’s future earnings could have been can be introduced. Evidence of the weaknesses and degenerative nature that resulted from personal injury and plaintiff’s work-life expectancy are additional factors.

Medical and funeral expenses, pecuniary losses, loss of inheritance, loss of earning capacity, and loss of earnings are some of the economic damages a Texas wrongful death lawyer will pursue for you in a San Antonio serious personal injury accident or malpractice claim.

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