Wrongful Death

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

Posted by: Kemmy Law Firm

It’s normal to be overwhelmed with emotions when a loved one dies. You may not know what to do, especially if the death was caused by someone else. However, you have a right to pursue the compensation your family needs to cover your and your loved one’s damages.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a legal cause of action that arises when someone suffers a fatal injury due to another’s negligence. The at-fault party is responsible for the victim’s damages if their wrongful act, negligence, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default contributed to the victim’s death, according to Texas Civil Code Section 71.002.

For example, if a person is speeding in a car and hits another vehicle, causing the other driver to die tragically, then the person who was speeding would be at fault for the death. A wrongful death claim could be brought against the person who was speeding and caused the car accident resulting in the death of the other vehicle’s driver.

Not only can the individual who caused the death of another person be held liable for damages, but others may also be partially responsible. Liability could extend to an employer, auto manufacturer, machine parts manufacturer, property owner, business, and more.

Who Could Bring Forward a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Texas, any immediate family member may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes the deceased person’s spouse, children, or parents.

A child who brings forward a wrongful death claim must be over the age of 18 and the legal child of the person who died. Thus, an adopted person could not sue on behalf of their biological parent, only their adoptive parent. A child may only file a lawsuit on behalf of a person legally recognized as their parent.

Additionally, the deceased’s personal representative may file a wrongful death claim. A personal representative is a person, often an executor or administrator of the estate, tasked with handling the deceased’s affairs. This is only permitted if the immediate family does not file a lawsuit within three months. Then, the personal representative has two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Who Can’t File a Texas Wrongful Death Claim?

Family members other than immediate family cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased individual. Even siblings are prohibited from filing claims.

Other members of the estate or people named in the will may not file a wrongful death lawsuit either. Only the estate administrator or executor may file if the immediate family does not do so within their allotted time.

How Long Does a Family Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The immediate family of an individual who dies wrongfully has three months to file a claim. If they do not file within that time, a representative of the estate can file instead. However, there is an overall deadline for wrongful death lawsuits in Texas.

That “statute of limitations” is two years from the date of death. If a lawsuit is not filed within that time, the family may forfeit the right to compensation.

Survival Claims vs. Wrongful Death Claims?

The family or representative of a person who dies can file a wrongful death claim to recover their own damages. That might include economic losses like funeral costs, burial expenses, economic support, and diminished inheritance. It also includes non-economic losses like grief and other damages that are not directly linked to out-of-pocket expenses.

On the other hand, a survival claim covers damages suffered by the person who died. That includes economic losses like medical bills and lost wages. It also includes non-economic losses like pain and suffering.

In Texas, the same people who can file a wrongful death claim can file a survival claim on behalf of the decedent.

Contact a Wrongful Death Lawyer for Help

If someone else’s actions tragically killed your loved one, you deserve compensation for the damages you have sustained. You need to contact a wrongful death attorney who can stand beside you and handle the stressful parts while you grieve.
Call Kemmy Law Firm today at 844-334–4388 or reach out online to schedule a consultation.

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When you work with us at Kemmy Law Firm, you are working with a family run firm with more than 50 years of combined experience. We are dedicated and successful trial attorneys practicing in West TX, Hobbs, NM, Midland-Odessa, and across the Permian Basin. Our team handles everything from catastrophic injury claims to complex business matters. We are here to fight for you. We dedicate our time and attention to your case and use every resource available to maximize your claim and obtain the best possible outcome.