In Texas and all other states, most legal actions have a specific time (or “statute of Limitations “ in which you absolutely must file. In Texas, the wrongful death Statute of limitations is usually two years from the date of your family member’s death.
This means that, in Texas, you must file your wrongful death lawsuit within two years after the death of your loved one, or you may lose the legal right to file and receive compensation forever.
There are very few events in your life that are more tragic or difficult to deal with than the unexpected loss of a loved one. The sudden and unexpected death of your spouse, parent, or child can be unbearable, and your life may never be the same. This occurrence can be even more devastating if it were caused by someone else’s negligence and could have been prevented.
You still must make plans for your loved one’s burial during your grieving period and many other matters. You also may be considering whether you want to pursue a wrongful death claim to get compensation to help with this impossible loss.
Everyone realizes, however, that moving forward with a wrongful death claim can never bring your family member back or make up for their loss. It can, however, help with your finances and give you more flexibility and peace of mind moving forward. At this crushingly stressful time, you should not also have the burden of paying enormous medical bills, funeral expenses, and all your other bills on top of losing your family member. This is especially true if your loved one was the primary income earner for your family.
You have a period to consider your legal options, but you cannot let this matter of considering a wrongful death claim sit for too long. There are definite time limitations for filing this type of suit, and it is beneficial for you to act when the evidence and facts, which contributed to their death, are recent and available.
By consulting with a professional, knowledgeable, and empathetic San Antonio wrongful death lawyer, you will be able to consider all the legal options available, and your lawyer will fight for the proper compensation and justice your family deserves.
Are There Any Exceptions To the Two-Year Statute of Limitations On a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Throughout Texas, the statutes commonly define wrongful death as neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default actions that caused the unnecessary death of another person. In the Texas courts, wrongful death is usually considered to be a civil action. Common wrongful death claims involve drunk driving (DUI), car accidents, manslaughter, negligence, assault, battery, and murder.
Wrongful death lawsuits, as stated, do have a statute of limitations in Texas. In the Texas wrongful death statute, you usually only have two years to file a wrongful death claim from the date of the death, unless your case meets one of these few exceptions:
o You, as the plaintiff of the wrongful death lawsuit, are a minor.
o The negligent act of the named defendants wasn’t known during the two years.
o Your mental or physical impairment prevented you from filing during the standard two-year period.
o There was some type of fraud involved in your case.
These cases can be legally complex and involve numerous witnesses, medical documents, detailed investigation by your wrongful death lawyer, and much more.
So, exceptions to the statute of limitations exist, and your lawyer will know when and how to use them.
Admittedly, it’s emotionally difficult to file such a case. Still, with the help and guidance of your Texas wrongful death lawyer, you’ll always have the best representation so that your legal rights and due compensation are protected.
Who Can Usually File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
In Texas, the wrongful death laws commonly name the following survivors that are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the civil courts:
o The deceased’s spouse or domestic partner.
o The deceased’s children, as adults, or also minors.
o Grandchildren of any deceased child of the decedent.
Also, suppose the deceased person has no living relatives. In that case, a wrongful death lawsuit could be filed by anyone who could claim to be entitled to the decedent’s property by intestate succession. This could include the deceased person’s stepparents or even unrelated caregivers.
In addition to the above-identified individuals, the following people may also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In these cases, however, they usually would have to prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased:
- A decedent’s “putative spouse.”
- Children of the decedent’s putative spouse.
- Stepchildren of the deceased.
- Stepparents, legal guardians, or caregivers of the deceased.
Once again, these cases can become exceptionally complex, and the help of a qualified, skillful, and empathetic San Antonio wrongful death lawyer will be invaluable in getting you and your family what you legally deserve.
What “Damages” Could I Be Entitled To In A Texas Wrongful Death Claim?
All types of damages in Texas wrongful death claims are awarded to compensate the family members for the losses they experience after losing a loved one. The types of damages that are recoverable vary and often depend on whether the claimant is a surviving spouse, a parent, or a child.
Some of the most common damages awarded include:
- Mental anguish you may suffer.
- Lost earning capacity due to your loved one’s death.
- Lost inheritance (what would have been financially gained if your loved one lived a whole life).
- Lost care, support, guidance, or counsel of your loved one.
- Lost love or companionship.
In some wrongful death cases, if the act is done willfully or gross negligence is involved, then your family may be able to recover exemplary or punitive damages. These damages are awarded to penalize or punish the defendant for their gross negligence and send a harsh message that helps to ensure such gross negligence happens again.
I Believe I Do Need To File a Wrongful Death Claim, But How Do I Proceed?
Wrongful death cases are commonly legally complex. There are dozens of emotional, disturbing, and difficult things to deal with, causing overwhelming stress on you and the surviving family. The compassionate and empathetic wrongful death lawyers at the Law Office of Matthew Norris have extensive experience in filing wrongful death lawsuits so that you can receive the damages from those responsible for your loss. Consult with them first, and they will tirelessly fight to help you transition through this challenging time and confidently forward with your life.