When someone dies as a result of an accident of some kind, the family may have a wrongful death claim. Wrongful death claims are heard in civil court. The claim is filed by the surviving family member in order to receive compensation because of the death. In Texas, wrongful death lawsuits must usually be filed within two years of the death. Wrongful death lawsuits can be hard to prove. It’s important that you rely on an experienced wrongful death attorney.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
One of the most common questions Thompson Law is asked is who has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Under Texas law, a wrongful death lawsuit can only be filed by the spouse, parent, or child of the victim. Siblings of the deceased are not eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
In Texas, a spouse is defined by state and common law. Even if you were separated at the time the wrongful death occurred, you may still be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Any biological child of the deceased may be eligible to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, any child who was formally adopted by the deceased is also eligible under Texas law to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their adoptive parent (but not their biological parent).
Biological parents may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their deceased child. An adoptive parent may file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their adopted child. However, the biological parent of the adopted child does not have the legal right to file a wrongful death claim. Even if parents are divorced, they may still bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased child.
Grandparents in the State of Texas do not have the legal right to file a wrongful death claim.
Proving a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas
In Texas, there are two elements you must prove to have a successful wrongful death claim. First, you must prove that you are the statutory beneficiary of the deceased. This means that you have the legal right under Texas law to bring a wrongful death claim. You are the spouse, child, or parent of the deceased. Second, you must prove that the defendant or defendants acted in a negligent way that caused the death of your loved one.
Serious Accidents That Cause Wrongful Death in Texas
Serious accidents in Texas that most often cause wrongful death include, but are not limited to:
- Car accidents
- Truck accidents
- Industrial accidents
- Construction site accidents
- Chemical leaks or explosions
- ATV accidents
- Medical malpractice
Free Case Evaluation
If you think that you may have a wrongful death claim, call Thompson Law at 1-800-LION-LAW now. You’re eligible to receive a free case evaluation. We can help you determine whether you have a civil wrongful death claim. If so, we can help you protect your legal rights.