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Filing a Wrongful Death Case in Texas

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Learn About The Baumgartner Law Firm

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Welcome to Baumgartner Law Firm

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The Claims Handling Process

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Why Should You Hire a Real Trial Lawyer?

The loss of a loved one resulting from another person’s intentional harmful act, or an accident, takes a tremendous emotional toll on family members. Thinking about filing a Texas wrongful death lawsuit at such a time can be extremely painful and difficult.

Wrongful Death Case

Filing a Wrongful Death Case in Texas

Baumgartner Law Firm understands the importance of the grieving process. However, when a loved one dies, it can also cause significant financial hardship—and we want to do what we can to help you recover damages for your family member’s precipitate demise.

Every state has laws that hold persons or entities legally accountable for causing the death of another due to neglect, carelessness, or other reasons. These laws are designed to ease the financial burden on the victim’s families. This article examines how Texas defines a “wrongful death” as well as the Texas laws and process that could affect a wrongful death claim.

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Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Texas

Texas Statute Section 71.002 states that if “neglect, a wrongful act, unskillfulness, carelessness, or default” by one party causes the death of another, a wrongful death claim if:

Further, Sec. 71.002 explains the Cause of Action as:

If liability exists under this section, a person is liable for damages arising from any injury that causes an individual’s death…[and] was caused by the person, his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act…[or] the injury was caused by an unsafe or harmful condition [of a utility or] machinery under the person’s control or operation.

The Process: Who May File a Texas Wrongful Death Claim?

Texas Wrongful Death Claim Law clearly defines who may file a claim as follows:

  • Surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased–they may file the claim individually or as a group.
    • If none of the above file a wrongful death claim within ninety days of the death, the deceased person’s representative or Executor of the Deceased’s Estate may file the claim
    • A surviving family member may specifically request that the claim not be filed.
    • Under particular circumstances, if the act or omission occurred in another state or a foreign country, it may still be possible to file a wrongful death claim in Texas.
  • If a child was legally and fully adopted, they could file a wrongful death claim for the death of an adoptive parent.
  • Adoptive parents are eligible to file a wrongful death claim on their adopted child
  • An adopted child may not file a wrongful death claim of a biological parent
  • Survivor siblings may not file a wrongful death claim for the loss of a biological or adopted sibling
  • Wrongful death is different from a criminal homicide case. In a criminal case, the charges are filed by the prosecuting attorney; the penalties for criminal homicide include probation, imprisonment, fines, or other sanctions. However, even if criminal charges are filed, a wrongful death claim may also be submitted.

Texas Wrongful Death Compensation and Damages

Damages awarded in a Texas wrongful death claim are paid to surviving family members or to the deceased’s estate; they are intended to compensate not only for financial losses but also:

  • Emotional and mental suffering
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of inheritance they could have assembled had they lived an expected lifetime
  • Loss of love, companionship, and comfort
  • Medical bills related to the injury that resulted in the death

Exemplary Damages

In Texas, Exemplary Damages (known as punitive damages in other states) may be awarded if a fatality is caused by gross negligence or a willful act or omission. The intended purpose of awarding punitive damages is not to cover financial losses, but rather, to punish an individual or entity and to deter similarly egregious behavior in the future.

Common wrongful death incidents include:

  • Construction Accidents
  • Criminal Acts
  • Dangerous Chemicals
  • Equipment failure
  • Falls
  • https://baumgartnerlawyers.com/houston-car-accident-lawyer/

In a wrongful death claim, damages awarded are divided proportionately amongst the surviving family members–the court determines these proportions.

Need an Attorney for Wrongful Death

Houston Car Accident Claims:From Start To Finish

An Interactive Guide


You hear metal crumpling. Someone just hit your car. Maybe they ran a red light or lost control of their vehicle. Maybe you were rear-ended by a teenage driver on her cellphone.

Either way, you’re angry and frustrated. You have things to do. Places to go. But now, you're standing beside your damaged vehicle waiting for the police to arrive. You start to feel some neck pain.

All that to say: A single, unexpected moment changed everything.

A car accident can strike at any time. Whether you are on your way to work or headed to the store, it doesn’t matter. It’s moments like these that cause the government to require everyone to buy insurance.

A Guide For All Car Accident Victims

In this guide, you will learn:

  • How To Handle Yourself When Disaster Strikes
  • How To Ensure The At-Fault Insurance Company Covers Any Property Damage And Injury Expenses.
  • What Injury Lawyers Do And How They Can Help You.
Go To Step 1

Get To Safety

Prevent Further Damage & Injury

If you find yourself in the middle of the intersection or on the freeway, you first priority is to move all persons (and vehicles if possible) out of the way of oncoming oncoming traffic.

Houston road illustration

Survey The Damage

Call The Police + Gather Evidence

After getting to safety, you should immediately dial 911. Make sure to alert the dispatcher if there are any serious injuries.

As you wait for help to arrive, you have 3 goals:

  • Identify Extent of Injuries
  • Identify Witnesses
  • Identify Vehicle Damage

Pro Tip: Use your cell phone to record a statement from the other driver, as well as to store contact information for the other driver and any witnesses.

What Type Of Photos
Should I Take?

Get Medical Help

Your Health Is #1

After emergency help arrives, it is important to seek medical treatment. Even if you don’t feel injured, it is important to get checked out for any internal injuries.

Be sure to go in for any follow-up checkups or procedures.

Pro Tip: If you wait before seeking medical treatment, the at-fault insurance company may argue that your injury wasn’t serious and that you don’t deserve compensation for medical expenses.

Common Internal

  • Whiplash
  • Internal Bleeding
  • Broken Ribs
  • Punctured Lungs

Hire An Injury Lawyer

Save Time. Get Compensated.

Hiring an injury lawyer after a serious accident is one of the best things you can do. Injury lawyers take care of all communication and negotiation with insurance companies. This frees up your time to focus on recovering.

At our law firm, we offer free initial consultations to all Houston residents. Just fill out our contact form — or give us a call to schedule a convenient time for you. We’ll listen to your story and offer our advice.

Pro Tip: Never accept a settlement without consulting a lawyer, especially if injury is involved. Once you accept a settlement, you can never recover anything further in the future.

Time Is Of The Essence


In most cases, you have 2 years from the date of the accident to file a lawsuit. This is called the Statute of Limitations.

Certain exceptions can extend and/or shorten a limitations period.

If the victim is a minor, the limitations may be extended until they are 18 years old.

If you are in an accident caused by a governmental entity in Texas, the statute of limitations may be much shorter — ranging from a few months to six months.


File Your Claim

Notify Your Insurance Company

It is important to notify your insurance company about the accident as soon as possible.

Many insurance companies allow you to file your claim online. Otherwise, call the number listed on your insurance card.

Be sure to keep track of all adjuster names and contact information.

Pro Tip: There may be multiple active insurance policies that can cover you. For example, if the other driver didn’t have insurance, your own Uninsured Motorist coverage could kick in. An experienced attorney can help identify these policies & maximize your recovery.

Find Your Insurance Company

Learn Fault Factors

Pro Tip: Do not give any recorded statements until you have the opportunity to consult with legal counsel.

Schedule a Free Strategy Session

Been in an accident? We’re here to help. Fill out the information below to arrange a free consultation

Interactive Car Accidents Form

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  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Get To Safety
Survey The Damage
Get Medical Help
Hire An Attorney
File Your Claim
Go to Step 2

Statute of Limitations for Filing a Texas Wrongful Death Claim

Texas has a specific statute of limitations for filing a claim–two years unless one of the clearly defined exceptions apply. For more information and details, talk to an experienced Texas wrongful death lawyer at Baumgartner Law Firm

Settling A Claim

Wrongful death claims typically take years to settle—the average claim takes between 1-4 years, if not more. However, if the insurance company offers a low settlement and you accept when the case involves minors, the petition may take from a few weeks up to a couple of months. We highly recommend contacting our firm for a free consultation before agreeing to any amount the insurance company may offer.

If you believe you may have a legitimate wrongful death claim and would like more information about the Texas Statue on Wrongful Death or have questions about filing a wrongful death claim, the attorneys at Baumgartner Law Firm can assist with your case.

Baumgartner Law Firm has been winning record multi-million-dollar settlements for decades. We are deeply knowledgeable about the process of a wrongful death lawsuit, identifying potential defendants, and negotiating with the defendant’s insurance companies. We have been protecting the survivors of wrongful death victims in and Texas for over 35 years, fighting for and getting maximum compensation in every case.

We selectively represent accept cases to best represent our clients…and unless we win, we don’t get paid. Contact us for your free consultation today.

(281) 587-1111