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Distribution of wrongful death settlement out of court between a daughter in law and the dead spouse's parents?

Austin, TX |

The case involves a wrongful death possible settlement. We need to have some idea how we can come to a fair distribution of award between the daughter in law and the parents of deceased in case there is mediated settlement offer. There are no other claimants to the estate

Attorney Answers 11


  1. Best answer

    You do not appear to actually ask a question. In most states who shares in a wrongful death recovery is specified by statute as well as the percentage that goes to each. From the answers you already received it appears that there may not be "classes" of beneficiaries and that each shares according to the "degree" or "amount" of loss. I suspect that even in Texas there are classes of beneficiaries and I am just reading the answer incorrectly. But I do understand the concept that each would still share based on the loss. THat would not be different than it is in Pennsylvania. FOr instance if the beneficiaries are two children--one relied on the parent for help with rent, received gifts from the parent, received advice from the spouse and the other had not spoken to the parent for 20 years, that child would be entitled to nothing. They did not lose anything because of the death. In the circumstance you describe if the law of Texas treats the daughter in law and the parents equally in terms of their right to recover then the amount depends on what you all can agree to as fair--since there is no priority in distribution. If you cannot agree then mediation is the next best step. Each "party" should be prepared to explain why their share should be bigger based on the degree of loss to them. If everyone is not on good terms this can get very contentious--and sometimes that cannot be avoided. Mediation does not work and no one is willing to agree to a binding arbitration then the court will decide--with everyone describing what the loss meant to them and why the loss meant not that much to the other side. Not a pleasant circumstance.

    If you feel this is the "best" answer or is "helpful," please indicate. Since I am limited to the information you provide, I cannot guarantee the accuracy of the answer. You should seek the advise of an attorney who can explore all aspects of your question. This communication does not form an attorney client relationship.


  2. Speak with your lawyer to find out what TX says on this subject. There is usually a law or statute that sets forth the percentages of any distribution.


  3. Your lawyer should be explaining it to you


  4. This is a question to ask the lawyer. In Kentucky, wrongful death proceeds would go to the surviving spouse and children. If this case is in TX, the lawyer would advise you about that state's distribution.

    Information provided here is not a substitute for consultation with an attorney. This website does not create an attorney-client relationship


  5. There are many variables that must be considered here, the age of the deceased being one( at least in FL), before such a question can be answered. The attorney for the personal representative of the estate is responsible for overseeing a fair distribution for all legally entitled survivors. This should be discussed with counsel.


  6. Most if not all States have a statute or rule of law that sets forth who can share in a wrongful death settlement proceeds and how much each such entitled person can get. This should be discussed with the attorney representing the husband/son's wrongful death lawsuit.


  7. There is no set percentage in Texas. Texas attorneys who deal regularly in this area can guise you through the process and help protect your interests. I think you should call an attorney today.

    Kendall Cockrell is an attorney with The Cockrell Law Firm in Beaumont, Texas. None of the opinions he states on this site constitute an attorney-client relationship. For more information, contact The Cockrell Law Firm. Contact information available on Kendall Cockrell's profile on this site.


  8. There are no set percentages in Texas. You go by how much each was damaged by the death. You must get an attorney to go over the elements of damage that are allowed in a wrongful death case. And I might add that if you do not have an attorney, you are going to get low balled on any settlement. If you do have an attorney the attorney should be able to explain the details to you.

    This is not legal advice. You should always discuss the specifics of your issue in person with an attorney. Be aware that there are time limits on all claims that depend on the kind of claim, so do not delay in seeking an attorney.


  9. Get and hire an attorney. Spend a little to get the right advice. Shouldn't cost very much for limited advice about this. As they say, the devil's in the details; and getting a blanket answer here is not what you need.


  10. If you are referring to the daughter-in-law of the deceased, she has no cause of action for wrongful death and is, therefore, not entitled to any of the money. The Texas Wrongful Death Act gives the cause of action exclusively to the spouse, parents and children of the deceased. If you are referring to the daughter-in-law of the parents of the deceased, she was the spouse of the deceased, so she is entitled to make a claim. In the latter case, you should know that there is no formula for how the money should be allocated between plaintiffs in a death case. What is fair and reasonable depends on the quantity and quality of the loss each plaintiff has suffered on account of the death. This obviously varies widely from case to case.

    The way this situation is usually handled is that the plaintiffs sit down together and talk it over until they can agree on an allocation that is fair, or at least one that all of them can live with. If that does not work, each plaintiff should consult a separate lawyer of his or her own choice about the matter.

    Good luck.


  11. The proper parties to a wrongful death case in Texas are the spouse, parents and children of the deceased. If each claimant has separate counsel, each claimant should negotiate a separate settlement. If the same lawyer represents multiple plaintiffs, an allocation agreement will have to be entered into between the wrongful death claimants in order negotiate a single settlement with the defendant(s) on behalf of multiple parties.

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