If a negligent driver’s actions led to the death of a loved one, you might have a valid wrongful death claim. You deserve compensation for the damages you suffer from such a loss.
However, not everyone who knew or had relations with the deceased can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party under Texas laws.
Only close family members can file a wrongful death claim
In Texas, only the deceased’s spouse, children or parents can bring a wrongful death claim. One or more parties can file for compensation on behalf of the others.
If nobody files a claim within three months, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can also file a wrongful death claim unless instructed otherwise by the family. Siblings, step-families and unmarried partners of the deceased cannot bring a claim.
Crucial elements of a wrongful death claim
The following elements must be present for a valid wrongful death claim:
- A duty of care was owed, and the breach of such duty: In this case, drivers owe other road users a duty of care. If they are negligent and breach the duty of care owed to others, they could be liable for damages.
- Causation: Your loved one’s death must have directly resulted from the negligent actions of the liable party.
- Damages: The deceased family must suffer a substantial loss due to the wrongful death of their loved ones for a valid claim. For instance, if your loved one was the sole breadwinner, the economic losses suffered by the dependents must be apparent.
A wrongful death claim is subject to the statute of limitations
You should file a wrongful death claim within two years. Otherwise, the claim may be time-barred, although there are exceptions that extend the two-year window.
Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience, and even filing a wrongful death claim can be an emotional undertaking. It is prudent to get the necessary help with your claim to ensure your rights are protected and justice is served.