Our Dallas Attorneys Answer FAQs about Filing a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas
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When someone dies, and another person or organization acted negligently in causing that death, you have a “Texas wrongful death claim”. It’s a sad situation because the death could have likely been prevented if the negligent party had acted responsibly. You may have some of these questions if you are considering filing a wrongful death claim in Dallas.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
It differs by state. Good news for Texans: many people have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, or parents have the right to file a wrongful death claim within 3 months of the death. They do have the ability to specifically request no wrongful death claim be filed.
If they choose not to exercise that right, the deceased person’s representative or executor of their estate can file the claim instead (but only after the 3-month period).
Surviving siblings may not file a claim on behalf of another sibling.
See Texas Wrongful Death Claim Versus Survival Action for more information on who can file.
Is Wrongful Death “Murder? in Texas”
No, it’s different. You can only be convicted of “murder” in criminal court. You cannot seek financial compensation for “murder” charges.
In Texas “wrongful death” is a civil action. Civil trials seek financial damages, not jail time or execution.
For example, prosecutors may choose not to go after a drunk driver who hit and killed your loved one. They may not have enough evidence to convict them of manslaughter.
But, you can still file a claim for “wrongful death” in Texas and potentially win financial compensation.
What Can You Get Compensation for in Texas Wrongful Death Claims?
There’s a number of reasons you can get financial compensation for wrongful death in Texas. Here are a few “actual damages,” compensation you can recover for loss that actually happened (or will happen):
- Financial losses like your loved one’s lost earning capacity
- The value of the care, maintenance, counsel, advice, and support they would have given your family members
- Mental anguish, which means the emotional pain you suffer
- Losing positive benefits like love and companionship from your loved one
- The inheritance lost from what your loved one would have accumulated and left had they lived the typical amount of time
You can also win “exemplary” damages in Texas wrongful death claims. Rather than compensating you for actual losses, they are meant to penalize or punish the defendant for their gross negligence.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Not too long, so it’s important to act fast. There are two statutes of limitations governing this:
- The period during which the deceased person could have filed a claim – 2 years
- The period during which you may claim on behalf of your loved one – 2 years
We offer free consultations to talk about your Texas wrongful death claim. And you stay within that 2-year statute of limitations.
If you wait until 2 years and 1 day after the date of the incident, Texas law prohibits you from ever seeking financial compensation for your loved one’s death again.