In Texas, the law defines wrongful death as a civil action involving the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” that causes a person’s death. Common personal injury wrongful death claims involve drunk driving, car accidents, and negligence.
Wrongful death lawsuits have a statute of limitation in Texas. Under state law, a person has only two years from the date of the death to file their wrongful death unless it meets very limited exceptions.
In Texas, wrongful death and survival actions are two separate causes of action for a negligence-related death. A single family may have grounds to file both claims.
- Wrongful death claim. Texas allows the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased to file wrongful death lawsuits. The purpose of this type of suit is to recover damages the surviving relatives suffered as a result of the death. Damages can include medical bills up to the date of death, funeral and burial expenses, and loss of the individual’s love, companionship, guidance, and financial support. The plaintiffs receive these damages directly.
- Survival action. The goal of a survival action is to compensate the deceased’s estate for losses he or she suffered prior to their death, including pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages, and property damage. The damages in a survival action are similar to the damages the individual may have received had the accident not resulted in his or her death. Damages go to the estate for distribution, and not directly to surviving family members.
Who Can File a Texas Wrongful Death Claim?
In Texas, not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim. If you want to file a wrongful death claim, you must meet at least one of these criteria:
- You are the surviving spouse.
- You are a surviving child (adult or minor).
- You are the surviving parent(s).
- You are a legally adopted child of the deceased.
- You are the surviving adoptive parent(s).
- You are the personal representative of the estate of the deceased.
Texas Wrongful Death Lawyers
At Freeman & Nance, we understand the loss of a loved one is devastating. We have been helping families and estates of victims recover damages as the results of wrongfully losing loved ones for years, and we would be honored if you give us the opportunity to help you. Our wrongful death attorneys handle these claims regularly, so contact us today.