Navigating your options in the legal field is already difficult and confusing, but if you are also grieving the death of the loved one, it may be especially overwhelming. Wrongful death claims are a way to help surviving family members deal with their loss.
Before commencing this civil action, it is important to assess when a wrongful death claim is a viable option for your family.
When the injury that caused death is the result of the negligence of another
According to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, wrongful death is the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” that results in a person’s death. If the injury that caused your loved one’s death was a result of a person’s negligence or malice, then that person is liable for damages.
Additionally, if the fatal injury was a result of the actions of an agent working for them, then that person is also liable. If you have reason to believe that your loved one’s death fits under this description, then a wrongful death claim may be a viable option.
When the claim is within the statute of limitations
Wrongful death claims are time barred in Texas by a statute of limitations. You must file suit no later than two years from the date of death of your loved one. Certain rare exceptions extend the time you have to begin legal action.
When surviving family members bring the action
To benefit from filing a wrongful death suit in Texas, you need to be a family member of the decedent. The parents, children and surviving spouse of the decedent may bring an action to recover damages. One or more of these individuals may bring the suit. If none of those specific family members file a lawsuit within three months after the death of the deceased, the executor of the will has the ability to bring the action unless otherwise requested by those individuals.