Who can File a Wrongful Death Case?

Written by greg on October 20, 2019

Wrongful death in Houston

Vehicle accidents occur with great frequency. Fortunately, most of the crashes that occur are relatively minor. However, there are many fatalities on Texas roadways. According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), a person is killed about every two and a half hours on Texas roads. There is a reportable crash every minute. In 2018, there were 3,639 fatalities on Texas roadways. Additionally, there were 249,241 people injured. The negligent party is responsible for the crash and his or her insurance company should provide payment for injuries and damages. When the accident results in a death, the negligent party should also provide payment for wrongful death damages.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful death is a term that applies to a death that occurred due to negligent or careless actions, or due to lack of skills. The death happens when one party commits a wrongful act that results in a fatality. Texas law allows certain relatives of the deceased to file a claim against the negligent party. This is known as a wrongful death claim. The law allows compensation for surviving family members or the estate of the deceased for losses that occur as a result of the death.

A wrongful death claim may include compensation for losses such as:

  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Lost maintenance, care, and support the loved one would have provided
  • Mental and emotional distress caused by the untimely death
  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Loss of inheritance (money the person would have made during a normal lifespan)

In a wrongful death case, your attorney will work to obtain compensation based on the losses that you suffer or will suffer as a result of the death of your loved one. In some cases, the negligent party may also be ordered to pay punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the wrongdoer because of grossly negligent actions.

Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

In Texas, the law allows specific individuals the ability to legally file a wrongful death claim. These include:

  • Spouse
  • Children
  • Parents

The law in Texas does not allow the siblings or grandparents of the deceased to file a wrongful death claim. It is important to note that a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case, not a criminal case. The family of the victim may file a wrongful death claim even if there are criminal charges against the driver.

The law limits the time to file a claim in any type of personal injury or wrongful death claim. Generally, Texas law requires you to file a claim within two years of the person’s death. There are several exceptions to this rule, but it is always best to file a claim as quickly as possible. Consult with a wrongful death attorney immediately so he may begin to gather critical evidence in the case.

At Baumgartner Law Firm we offer free initial consultations so you can learn more about filing a claim and get answers to your questions. Contact Baumgartner Law Firm today to schedule a case review.

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