Representing Injured People

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Texas?

On Behalf of | Aug 3, 2022 | Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents

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.