Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In Texas?

Wrongful Death Lawyers

The death of a loved one is tragic enough, but facing this hardship due to another person’s negligence, malice, or recklessness is even more traumatic. Families often turn to an experienced lawyer to secure compensation for their losses, plus any available punitive damages from the perpetrator. A wrongful death lawsuit in Texas can only be filed by certain close family members, such as the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased.

Even though a loved one’s loss can affect many people, Texas law specifically states that only the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and/or parents are eligible to bring a wrongful death claim. Even if spouses were separated at the time of the death, the surviving spouse can still file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.

There are some constraints and exceptions, including:

  • Children must be legal adults (over 18).
  • Siblings and grandparents cannot file, except when it can be shown that the deceased financially supported them.
  • Parents cannot sue on behalf of minor children unless the child is legally recognized as a child of the deceased. For example, a parent can’t sue on behalf of their children for the wrongful death of a stepparent unless the stepparent legally adopted the children.
  • The only other person who can sue on behalf of an estate is the personal representative of the lost loved one, which is usually an executor of the will.

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas

Family members may file individually or in a joint action when they initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. However, they must file suit within three months of the date of the death. If they fail to do so, the personal representative or administrator of the deceased’s estate can begin legal proceedings.

Having a skilled wrongful death lawyer as a guide can help ensure your family is taken care of during this time of tragedy. Our law firm’s professional legal team will gather documentation and evidence for the case, taking that burden off your shoulders. Your attorney can assess your circumstances and determine how to proceed for the best possible outcome.

Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas

No matter who is filing the suit, it’s crucial to have a thorough and complete list of the damages your family has suffered. There are economic damages, which usually have a specific price, and non-economic damages, which cover the pain and suffering you experience. If your family member faced a long battle against the injuries or illness caused by someone else, you must consider those past costs as well as any future ones. In addition, the time between the death-inducing injury and the actual passing gives rise to an additional cause of action called a survival claim.

Some typical losses that are covered in a wrongful death lawsuit include:

  • Lost income, especially if the deceased was the family breadwinner
  • Lost wages of family members who cannot work due to grief
  • Mental anguish
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Hospital bills (ICU, ER, and surgery)
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of consortium with a partner
  • Loss of guidance, care, and companionship for children
  • Pain and suffering
  • Mental and emotional anguish
  • Household and care services
  • Repair or replacement of property, such as a car, if the person died in a crash

You can rely on your personal injury attorney to aid you in collecting documentation for many of these damages, such as insurance information, medical records, reports from authorities, and expert testimony. They can develop a complete picture of how your family has been harmed and how much is needed to ensure all their losses are reimbursed.

In some cases, exemplary damages (also known as punitive damages) may be available. These are meant to be especially harsh and serve as a warning to the defendant and the public at large to show their bad behavior will not be tolerated. Exemplary damages can be recovered when wrongful death is caused by gross negligence, a willful act, or an omission.

Texas Wrongful Death Attorneys

When someone you love dies unexpectedly because of another’s fault, it can be a devastating and scary time in your life. It will be hard to know what you should do and when. The Texas trial lawyers of Dax F. Garza, P.C. will fight to get your family justice for the death of your loved one. We will hold the responsible parties accountable for your loss, and help get you the financial compensation you deserve after a wrongful death. Although nothing can bring your loved one back, the law can help you get a sense of justice and closure. We offer all clients a free and confidential case evaluation over the phone or in person.

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