In the aftermath of a wrongful death, surviving family members have a great deal of questions regarding whether they can file a claim, and what are the overall procedures for proceeding with such an action in the Lone Star State. Adjusting to the realty of a recent loss is the first step in a long journey to acceptance.
Receiving just compensation for the negligence of the person who led to the death of your loved one is an equally important step in helping you return to normal, albeit it is understood that mere money won’t make the pain any easier to deal with, but it will provide you the physical comfort of security in the aftermath of a tragedy.
What Constitutes a Wrongful Death in Texas?
The Texas legislature passed into law provisions designed to financially shield families in the event of a wrongful death incident. Specifically, the state’s statute code notes that an action for wrongful death may be brought if the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of one party causes the death of another.
This mandates that the party at fault must have willfully acted in such a way as to have caused death to another. As an example, an auto accident resulting in a fatality might not necessarily result in a wrongful death claim, but a skilled litigator, practiced in the wrongful death suits, will work to unearth any facts relevant to your individual case.
An important factor to remember is that insurance companies will always try to eliminate or reduce what they are required to pay out, and they will typically work hard to stop a wrongful death claim in its tracks. Houston attorney Terry Bryant is very experienced in these types of cases, and his investigative team brings a wealth of experience at unearthing important case details.
Establishing standing is an important legal concept, and it simply refers to the fact that litigants attempting to file a wrongful death claim must have legal standing. In addition to the phrasing mentioned above, Texas law details who is eligible to file a claim for wrongful death in Texas.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
When it comes to filing a wrongful death case in Texas, the court acknowledges close and immediate family members as having legal standing in such a lawsuit. Specifically, the law allows for surviving spouses, children, and the parents of the deceased to file a wrongful death claim in the state. Additionally, these family members may choose to file as a group or as individuals.
The statute also makes a provision for a representative of the deceased’s estate to file a claim if the surviving family members fail to do so within three months unless a surviving family member specifically requests that a wrongful death claim not be filed.
Likewise, the law allows for adult children to sue over the death of a parent, and this provision extends to fully adopted by the deceased parent legally. Conversely, that same adoptee would be unable to file a claim in the event of their biological parent’s demise.
Finally, under Texas law, siblings, whether biological or adopted, do not have legal standing to mount a wrongful death claim in the state.
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Statute of Limitations
As with most legal motions, briefs, and suits, time is of the essence when it comes to filing a wrongful death case in the Lone Star State. This filing must be done by an eligible surviving family member or by their personal representative.
This differs from criminal cases whereby a prosecutor would take on the responsibility of bring forward a wrongful death criminal case. It should be noted that a criminal proceeding does not preempt a civil wrongful death claim, and both can move forward concurrently.
With some few exceptions, surviving relatives must file their claim within two years of a loved one’s death. To fully understand your rights and legal timelines however, you will always want to speak to a qualified legal representative to go over your legal options.
If you believe that your family member died owing to another party’s negligence, then you should talk immediately to an experienced litigator in the field of wrongful death suits.
Call Houston Attorney Terry Bryant for Legal Representation
If you and your family were victimized by negligence leading to the death of a loved one, you have legal rights designed to help you financially with a wrongful death lawsuit. Considering that the other party’s insurance company will do everything they can to limit or eliminate paying any claims, you need seasoned legal counsel sitting beside you at the plaintiff table.
Houston-based attorney Terry Bryant has the experience, legal skills, and team to get the job done when it comes time to explore your options regarding the filing of a successful wrongful death claim in Texas. Call today and schedule an appointment to discuss your case because you are entitled to compensation if another’s negligence led to your loved one’s demise.