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  • Writer's pictureRobert Schuerger

Who Can File Wrongful Death in Texas? | Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys

Losing a loved one is a painful experience, especially when it's due to someone else's negligence or wrongful act. During this challenging time, a wrongful death claim can help compensate for the loss.

Under Texas wrongful death laws, individuals who can file a wrongful death lawsuit are:

  • Surviving spouse

  • Surviving children

  • Other immediate surviving family members

In some cases, a personal representative may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased person's estate. This is often the case when the surviving family members are minors or unable to file a claim themselves. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys can answer questions like, "What is the dead man's statute in Texas?"

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In Texas, the surviving spouse can file a wrongful death lawsuit when someone else's wrongful act results in the death of a loved one. This type of legal action is called a wrongful death claim, and it allows remaining family members to seek compensation for their losses.

Wrongful death claims are based on the legal theory of negligence. This takes place when an individual fails to demonstrate the level of understanding and care that a sane person would have shown under similar situations.

In order to file for a wrongful death claim and for the case to be successful, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant's negligence caused the death of the deceased person.

Experienced wrongful death attorneys can help victims understand their legal rights, gather evidence to support their wrongful death claim, and fight for the compensation they deserve.

Texas wrongful death lawsuits are subject to a two-year statute of limitations. This means that surviving family members have 24 months from the date of the decedent's death to file a wrongful death claim.

Failure to file a wrongful death suit within the statute of limitations can result in the loss of the right to pursue compensation altogether.

What Types of Damages Are Available in Wrongful Death Claims?

In a Texas wrongful death claim, family members can seek both economic and non-economic damages.

Economic damages may include lost medical expenses, wages, lost inheritance, and other household services.

On the other hand, non-economic damages might include monetary compensation for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and mental anguish.

In cases where the wrongdoing was gross negligence, the surviving family members can claim punitive damages.

Generally, punitive damages are awarded to punish the defendant for their reckless and dangerous behavior rather than compensating the family members for the wrongful death action.

Seeking Compensation for a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas

Before filing a wrongful death claim in Texas, it's essential for plaintiffs to understand the basics of wrongful death lawsuits.

Generally, a wrongful death suit is different from a personal injury lawsuit because the injured person is not a party to the claim.

Instead, it is the surviving family members that file the suit on the deceased person's behalf.

It's important for claimants to work with experienced wrongful death attorneys. They can guide clients through the complex legal processes of filing wrongful death claims in Texas and help them recover compensation.

Individuals filing for wrongful death claims can seek compensation for the following damages:

  • Medical expenses

  • Lost inheritance and future earnings

  • Pain and suffering

  • Lost household services

  • Punitive damages in cases of gross negligence

  • Lost wages

  • Funeral and burial expenses

Qualified wrongful death lawyers in Texas can help victims navigate the legal process, gather evidence, and build a strong case on their behalf.

They can help clients evaluate the damages they can seek compensation for and guide them through the settlement negotiations.

Who Cannot File a Wrongful Death Suit in TX?

Only certain people can file wrongful death claims in Texas. These individuals are typically the surviving spouse, surviving children, or remaining family members of the deceased person. The list does not include:

  • Adoptive parents

  • Grandparents

  • Siblings

  • Stepparents

Stepchildren cannot file for a Texas wrongful death lawsuit either. This is because, under Texas law, they are not considered "heirs" of their deceased parents unless they have been legally adopted or unless they can prove that they were financially dependent on their parent(s).

If the deceased person did not have any of the above-mentioned statutory beneficiaries, then a personal representative can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

In addition to the above-mentioned requirements, certain criteria must be met to file a wrongful death claim under Texas law.

The death must have been caused by someone else's negligence or a wrongful act. This means that a wrongful death lawsuit cannot be filed if the untimely departure was caused by natural causes or the person's own actions.

Finally, it is important to remember that filing a wrongful death claim requires a thorough understanding of Texas law.

Experienced lawyers can guide claimants through the legal process and ensure that their claims are filed within the wrongful death statute of limitations and meet all necessary requirements. They can also answer questions like, "How long do you have to file wrongful death in Texas?"

How a Texas Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help Victims

How a Texas Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help Victims

In situations where the death is due to someone else's negligence or unfair act, the pain and suffering can be unbearable.

The impact can be felt for years to come, especially if the deceased was a major contributor to the family's income or if the surviving members relied heavily on the deceased for household services.

It's critical for plaintiffs to find an attorney who specializes in wrongful death suits and knows their way around Texas wrongful death laws.

A professional and expert wrongful death attorney can help clients understand the legal options available to them and help protect their rights.

An experienced attorney can be the guide through the process and can help surviving victims file personal injury claims in a wrongful death case before the statute of limitations expires.

Final Words

While nothing can replace the loss of a loved one, taking legal action can help ensure that justice is served. Unfair death claims can help surviving members recover damages such as medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and even punitive damages.

However, filing a claim can be challenging and emotional. That's why working with experienced lawyers who can help victims navigate the legal process is essential. Schuerger Shunnarah Trial Attorneys has a motto that says, "We Go to War for You."

The firm offers free case review sessions, helping clients understand their rights in a wrongful death case.


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