When a loved one dies, it is a terrible time for everyone in the family. The fact that the loved one died because of someone else’s negligence makes the grieving process even worse. In Texas, a loved one has the right to file a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death is any type of death caused by neglect, wrongful act, unskillfulness or carelessness.
Texas gives a family member a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death claim. The time frame is called statute of limitations. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim is normally two years. This means the family member has two years from the date of their loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
If that deadline is missed, the family member cannot file a lawsuit in court. Instead, they are responsible for any expenses such as funeral and burial expenses related to their loved one’s death.
In addition to limiting the time to file a wrongful death lawsuit to two years, the state limits who can file. Only the surviving spouse, parents and children of the loved one can file a wrongful death claim. One of these people may file by themselves. Texas law also permits the family to file one lawsuit together.
If the family members choose not to file a wrongful death lawsuit within three months of their loved one’s death, a personal representative can do so. An executive or personal representative is someone who represents the loved one’s estate. The law is also specific on which child can file a wrongful death claim.
For example, an adult child can file a wrongful death lawsuit. An adopted child can only file a wrongful death lawsuit if they were legally adopted by the parent. An adopted child has no legal right to file a wrongful death claim if their biological parent was killed by someone because of negligence. The loved one’s siblings are not permitted to file a wrongful death claim. It doesn’t matter if they were adopted or biological.
A wrongful death claim seeks to compensate a family member for the loss of their loved one. It is similar to financial justice because the family member may have lost a loved one who was the breadwinner in the family. For example, in Texas, a family member can receive pecuniary loss. Pecuniary loss is money for the support, care, maintenance, the loved one would have contributed if they weren’t killed by the defendant. Loss of companionship and inheritance are also available damages. Mental anguish a family member suffers because of the loss of their loved one is available too.
The experience of losing a loved one is terrible. The fact they won’t be around for the good times like weddings and graduations makes the loss even more devastating. Families who have had loved ones killed because of someone’s negligence can file a wrongful death claim. At the Cain Firm, we have helped numerous people with personal injury cases achieve outcomes in their favor.
“I couldn't have asked for a better law firm or attorney. Thanks guys!!!”