The Texas statute of limitations for wrongful death is two years from the date of the victim’s death, in most cases.
Although the law provides for some limited exceptions to this time limit, you could lose your right to recover compensation if you do not take legal action within a two-year period. To help protect your legal rights and preserve your ability to pursue compensation, talk to one of the compassionate, experienced wrongful death attorneys at the Johns Law Firm for help.
How Long Do You Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Under the wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas, you have only two years from the date of the victim’s death to file a lawsuit in civil court. Although some exceptions to the statute of limitations do exist, it is in your best interest to move as quickly as possible. An attorney can explain your options and help you determine the best approach for filing your claim.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, and parents can legally file a wrongful death action. If none of these individuals files a claim within three months of the victim’s passing, the claim can be filed by an executor or personal representative of the victim’s estate.
In some cases, the law may allow other parties to pursue a wrongful death claim. Likewise, the law may preclude some of the otherwise entitled parties from recovering compensation in a Texas wrongful death claim.
Talk to an attorney about your potential claim as soon as possible to help protect your right to pursue justice.
What Can You Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims seek damages suffered by the victim’s survivors. This could include some or all of the following:
- Funeral and burial costs;
- Pain and suffering;
- Loss of love and companionship;
- Loss of guidance, advice, and counsel;
- Loss of life assistance; and
- Loss of inheritance.
Texas also allows entitled parties to recover exemplary damages if the at-fault party acted with gross negligence or if the victim died due to another party’s willful act or omission. Exemplary damages are intended to punish the at-fault party and set an example to deter others.
You may also be able to pursue a survival action on behalf of the victim. Whereas wrongful death claims provide compensation for damages suffered by those left behind, a survival action seeks compensation for damages that the victim suffered prior to their death. This could include the cost of medical treatment, lost income, and the victim’s pain and suffering.
Your attorney can explain your options for pursuing damages, based on the details of your case.
Exceptions to the Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations
Texas law provides several exceptions to the statute of limitations. If any of these exceptions apply in your case, you may have longer than two years to take action.
For example, the running of the statute of limitations may be suspended if the defendant (the at-fault party) is temporarily absent from the state of Texas.
If the defendant dies, the running of the statute of limitations may be suspended for 12 months from the date of the defendant’s death or until an executor or administrator of the defendant’s estate becomes qualified as the defendant. The running of the statute of limitations is also suspended if the plaintiff is of unsound mind or under the age of 18.
If the victim died as a result of a product defect, your time to file may be more limited. In most cases, Texas law prevents lawsuits based on product defects brought more than 15 years after the product was first sold, no matter when the injury or death occurred. However, if the product manufacturer states in writing that the product has a useful safe life of more than 15 years, you may still be able to file a claim.
Talk to a Texas Wrongful Death Lawyer for Help
Talking to an experienced attorney can help ensure that you retain the right to pursue compensation for the loss of a loved one. The Texas personal injury lawyers of the Johns Law Firm understand how difficult this time is for you and your family.
You don’t have to fight this battle alone. Contact us to schedule a free consultation. We can answer your questions and help you understand all options for pursuing legal action. Call or contact us now to speak to one of our Texas wrongful death attorneys.