There is no question that the loss of a loved one can affect many people. When it comes to legal territory, if the passing of your loved one was due to the negligence or wrongdoing of another individual, it could be even more disheartening. There could be a flood of emotions present, including anger and a need for the responsible party to be held accountable. If that is the case, there might be whole families who want to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the person responsible. However, in Texas it is important to understand just who can and cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit. Consider these factors:
The husband or wife of a deceased individual can file a wrongful death lawsuit if they can prove that their marriage was fully legal. This means if you and your spouse obtained a marriage license and had some sort of ceremony then you can file a wrongful death suit if they pass away due to someone else’s negligence. Of course, this all begs the question: what about common-law marriages? In Texas, common law marriages are still recognized, and you can file a wrongful death case as long as you can fully establish the validity of the common law marriage. There are certain steps to follow, one of them being if you “held yourself out to be husband and wife within the community.” In this case, you might need some witnesses to prove you were common-law married.
It doesn’t matter what age you are, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit if one of your parents was killed in this manner. This situation only requires that they be your legal parents. This also applies to children born out of wedlock and for adopted children as well as long as the adoption is legally binding. However, when it comes to adopted children it is important to note that they cannot file a claim for a biological parent. Of course, if there are questions about the legitimacy of a child’s ‘biological parent’ there might be a paternity case occurring at the same time as the wrongful death case.
The law is fairly cut-and-dried when it comes to the parents in a wrongful death case. Both biological and adoptive parents can file a wrongful death case in the event of your child’s death. The only exception to this rule would be if your parental rights were terminated. Of course, all of these people can file as a whole group as well.
Generally, the siblings, grandparents, ex-spouses and anyone else other than the above listed cannot file a wrongful death case. The only exceptions to this rule would be if one of these individuals was either appointed personal representative or executor of the deceased person’s estate. This would also only apply if those who are allowed to file a wrongful death suit have not done so on their own accord.
If you are considering a wrongful death case then contact the Cain Firm today to be advised of what rights you may have. Brett Cain of Cain Firm is fully dedicated to expressing his clients’ rights and will ensure you get the best possible outcome in your case.
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