Losing a loved one unexpectedly can be absolutely devastating; and while nothing can bring them back, seeking compensation for a wrongful death can lessen the family’s financial burden. There is limited time to act, however, and if legal action is not taken in time the family may lose the chance to make a claim. The statute of limitations in Texas for wrongful death is two years from the date of the victim’s death, with very few exceptions. To help protect your family’s legal rights and preserve the ability to pursue legal action, contact our team of wrongful death attorneys today for a free and confidential consultation.
If a person is killed as a result of the negligence or wrongful acts of another, that is considered a wrongful death. A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that allows specific surviving family members to hold people and institutions accountable for the death of their family member who was wrongfully killed. All states allow for wrongful death claims, but each state has different rules regarding who can bring a claim and how much compensation can be received. There are many situations in which the untimely passing of a loved one can be considered a wrongful death, including:
- Medical malpractice
- Car, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Defective products
According to the wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas, you have two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in civil court. It is in you and your family’s best interests to consider filing a lawsuit quickly with the help of a knowledgeable attorney to ensure all relevant evidence is preserved. A personal injury lawyer can explain all of your options and help you determine the best path for moving forward. The stress and complexity of filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be overwhelming for a grieving family. Even though legal action must be taken within two years, the case itself does not have to be fully resolved within a two-year time period. The time limit is specific only to the filing of the claim.
Texas law does provide multiple exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations. Your lawyer will be able to confirm if the circumstances surrounding your loved one’s death qualify for a legal exception. If they do, you may have longer to take action but you should still not delay in seeking legal advice regardless.
Examples of exceptions to the two-year statute of limitation for wrongful death claims:
- The running of the statute of limitations may be paused or suspended if the defendant (the person who was at fault for the death of your loved one) is temporarily absent from the state of Texas.
- If a minor’s parents are killed, the two-year statute of limitations does not start at the date of their death. It will begin when the minor turns 18 years old.
- When the cause of death for your loved one isn’t determined to be negligence until much later, the statue of limitations may be extended so the family can have a chance to receive compensation. This can happen with defective products that are not found to be harmful until many years after deaths have been reported.
- If the defendant in the case, the person responsible for your loved one’s death, dies before a claim is filed, the running of the statute of limitations may be paused for 12 months from the date of their death or until an executor of their estate has been named and can then become the defendant in your wrongful death action.
- If the plaintiff is not of sound mind, the running of the statute of limitations can be suspended.
In Texas, only certain surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim. The surviving spouse, children, and parents can all legally file a wrongful death action. These individuals have three months to file a claim before other family members become eligible. Once three months have passed, if a wrongful death claim has not been filed the claim can be filed by an executor or personal representative of the victim’s estate. In some cases, Texas law may allow other parties to file a wrongful death claim. The law may also preclude some other parties from recovering compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. To understand the ins and outs of this process, it is critical to speak with a Texas trial attorney who can help you and your family get through this tough time and protect your rights to seek justice.
Houston Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one and suspect there was another party at fault, contact J.D. Silva & Associates today to discuss your case. As discussed above, there are specific time limits that apply to your ability to file a lawsuit, so it is important to start the process quickly. Ultimately, we want to make sure we can help your family and take away the stress of worrying about the legal proceedings. Our goal is to do what we can to help you heal.