Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

by Terry Bryant

When family members lose a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, it is a tragedy. Injury-related deaths are almost always preventable. When they happen, surviving family members are forced to live with devastating fallout, often coping with the fact that if it weren’t for someone else’s carelessness, their loved one might still be alive.

Wrongful death claims are a legal tool that survivors can use to seek compensation for their loss. Nothing can truly make up for the loss they’ve suffered, but these claims can help alleviate some of the burdens placed on grieving family members.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury claims. They are filed against the negligent person when their actions led to the injuries that caused someone’s death. A wrongful death claim can seek many damages, including mental anguish, medical bills, end-of-life costs, lost inheritance, or loss of income suffered by the surviving family members. A claim can also seek compensation for the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?

Spouses, children, and parents are permitted by Texas law to file wrongful death claims. If none of these parties files a claim within three months of the death, the executor or administrator can file a claim unless requested not to by all those individuals.

How Wrongful Death Happens

If someone willfully or maliciously takes the life of another person, it is typically considered a criminal matter. However, if carelessness, neglect, unskillfulness, or another form of negligence leads to the death of a person, a claim can be brought forward in civil courts. There are many examples of negligence as a cause of another’s death.

For example, if a distracted driver strikes a pedestrian and the injuries result in death, the driver can be held responsible for the damages suffered by the pedestrian and their surviving family members. The driver might not have intended to cause harm, but they were negligent behind the wheel and can be considered liable for their actions.

Another example would be a doctor that fails to provide a reasonable level of care to their patient, and the doctor’s actions or inactions that led to the death of the patient. Likewise, if a medical device causes a patient fatal injury, the manufacturer could be the subject of a wrongful death case if that device was defective.

Statute of Limitations

A Texas wrongful death claim must typically be filed within two years of the death of the loved one. (Please speak to an attorney about your specific situation in order to understand the exact statute of limitations that applies to your case.) If you believe that your family member lost their life because of someone else’s negligence, it is important to act quickly to maximize the chances of a successful claim.

At Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, we have helped many clients across the Houston area and elsewhere in Texas file wrongful death claims. We understand how difficult this time is for you and your family and we know that your claim is of the utmost importance. Terry Bryant is a Board Certified personal injury attorney in Texas and a former judge. Our team makes sure that we stand up for the rights of our clients and earn them the compensation they deserve.

To schedule a free consultation with Terry Bryant Accident & Injury Law, contact us today by filling out our online contact form or giving us a call at 1 (800) 444-5000 or locally in the Houston area at (713) 973-8888.