Things To Know Before Filing a Wrongful Death Claim In Texas

Often after the loss of a loved one, people are hurt, upset and confused. These feelings are magnified when it’s assumed wrongful death may be the reason behind their loss. It can be hard to determine what qualifies as wrongful death when it happens, here are some wrongful death facts to help you decide if this was the situation in your loved one’s death.

What is wrongful death?

In Texas, wrongful death may be considered a death as the result of another party’s “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness or default.”

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

The deceased’s spouse, children or parents may file a wrongful death claim. It is important to note the difference between a wrongful death claim, the loss suffered on behalf of the individual (i.e., surviving children, spouse, parents), versus a survival claim, the loss suffered by the decedent (i.e., the pain, suffering, mental anguish endured by the deceased as the result of the injury/death). A survival claim may be filed on the decedent’s behalf by the surviving heirs to the decedent, if no administration of the estate is required, or if such administration of the estate is required, then the executor/administrator of their estate may file the claim.

Who cannot file a wrongful death claim?

Siblings, grandchildren, stepparents, foster parents and biological children that have been adopted legally by another party cannot file a wrongful death claim.

What is the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim in the state of Texas?

Typically the statute of limitations is two years, but may be longer or shorter depending on the nature of the claims (e.g., governmental entities, contract disputes, products liability claims, and facts that may indicate tolling or extension of the statute). Because specifics details of your situation may increase or decrease this time frame, you should file the claim or speak with an attorney about it as soon as possible.

What type of rewards are associated with wrongful death compensation?

Wrongful death beneficiaries may receive two different types of awards.

Actual Damages- Are compensation for financial losses that are a result of the death such as medical bills, funeral expenses and other related costs. Actual damages can also include lost wages.

Pre and Post Judgment Interest

Exemplary Damages- Payments in cases where the Defendant is found to have been grossly negligent and should pay damages in order to deter/punish such conduct.

Note: This is general information. If you think you may have a case for a wrongful death claim you should speak to an attorney in your state about the specifics of your situation to determine the validity of your claim and how to move forward.

More information on Texas' Civil Practice and Remedies Code - Wrongful Death Guidelines

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