When someone dies due to the wrongful act or neglect of another person or corporation, it can profoundly impact the surviving family members. In Texas, the law allows surviving family members to file a wrongful death suit seeking compensation for their loss. This blog will discuss wrongful death suits under Texas law, including who can point them, what damages may be recovered, and the statute of limitations.
What is a Wrongful Death Suit?
A wrongful death suit is a legal claim that arises when a person dies due to the criminal act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default of another person or corporation. In Texas, the deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, and parents can file a wrongful death suit. If none of these parties are available, then the personal representative of the dead person’s estate can file a claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit in Texas?
Under Texas law, the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and parents can file a wrongful death claim. If none of these parties are available, then the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate can file a claim. However, it is worth noting that Texas law does not recognize common-law spouses as surviving spouses for a wrongful death claim.
What Damages May Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Suit in Texas?
In a wrongful death suit, damages may include financial loss, loss of inheritance, loss of earning capacity, mental anguish, and loss of companionship and society. Pecuniary loss refers to the financial support the deceased person would have provided their family members had they lived. Loss of inheritance refers to the estate the family members would have received the deceased person lived. Loss of earning capacity refers to the loss of the dead person’s ability to earn income in the future due to their untimely death. Mental anguish refers to the emotional pain and suffering experienced by the surviving family members due to their loved one’s death. Loss of companionship and society refers to losing the deceased person’s love, friendship, comfort, and emotional support.
No punitive damages in Texas wrongful death suits except for violent crime-related fatalities. Punitive damages punish defendants for illegal actions and can be awarded for especially egregious behavior.
What Is the Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Suit in Texas?
The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death suit in Texas is generally two years from the date of the person’s death. However, exceptions may apply, such as in cases involving government entities or medical malpractice. Working with an experienced attorney who can ensure your claim is filed within the appropriate time frame is crucial.
Losing a loved one due to someone else’s wrongful actions can devastate the surviving family members. Under Texas law, surviving family members can file a wrongful death suit seeking compensation for their loss. Damages may include financial loss, loss of inheritance, loss of earning capacity, mental anguish, and loss of companionship and society—no punitive damages in Texas wrongful death suits except for violent crime-related fatalities.
Texas wrongful death suits generally have a two-year statute of limitations from the person’s death, with possible exceptions. For justice and compensation after a loved one’s wrongful death, an experienced attorney is crucial to navigate the process.