Wrongful Death Laws in Texas
At Kelley Law Firm, we recognize that there is absolutely nothing worse than losing someone you love. If your family member died tragically as a result of someone else’s negligence or wrongful conduct, you deserve justice. While no amount of financial recovery can ever “compensate” you for your loss, recovering a fair settlement or verdict can not only provide a much-needed sense of justice but also allow you and your family to obtain the monetary resources you need to heal.
Since 2003, our Dallas wrongful death attorneys have fought on behalf of families throughout the area—including in DeSoto, Cedar Hill, and Lancaster—providing the compassionate and personalized legal representation they deserve. We have dedicated our legal practice to being a voice for the voiceless and are proud to stand up for the disadvantaged and historically disenfranchised, helping to level the playing field and put the power back in the hands of everyday people.
Read on to learn more about Texas’s wrongful death statute, or call us at (972) 853-5398 to speak to one of our compassionate and experienced wrongful death attorneys about your case.
The state of Texas defines “wrongful death” as the death of a person, including an unborn child, resulting from a “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.” If the person who died (referred to as the “decedent”) would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit and recover compensation for damages had they lived, their death is likely considered wrongful in the eyes of the law.
Most wrongful death claims arise from negligence-related accidents, malpractice, and intentional misconduct. Examples include:
- Auto accidents
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents
- Birth injuries
- Dangerous property conditions
- Homicide, manslaughter, and murder
- Motorcycle accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home neglect
- Train accidents
- Trucking accidents
- Violent acts, including a wide variety of crimes
If your loved one tragically passed away after a fatal accident or due to the carelessness, recklessness, or intentional acts of another, you may be entitled to seek financial compensation for your resulting losses. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, you can also seek to hold the responsible party accountable and achieve justice on behalf of your loved one.
Can Family Members File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
Texas law specifies that the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and/or parents may file a wrongful death lawsuit with the court. Additionally, one of these individuals may file a claim on behalf of all eligible and participating parties. However, if the decedent’s spouse, children, or parents do not file a wrongful death lawsuit within three months of the date of death, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate may initiate a claim unless all eligible family members specifically request that no wrongful death claim be filed.
In general, you have two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. In nearly every case, if no claim is filed with the court before the two-year statute of limitations expires, the case will be dismissed. Because of this, it is important that you act quickly so you do not lose your right to seek compensation for your damages and the justice your family deserves.
The exact damages you may be entitled to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit depend on the specific details of the case.
That being said, many people who file wrongful death lawsuits in Texas recover compensation for the following types of damages:
- Medical expenses related to the decedent’s care for their final injuries or illness
- Funeral and/or burial expenses
- Loss of inheritance, including any income the decedent would have likely earned and left to the individual had they lived
- Loss of earning capacity and income provided by the decedent, including income the decedent would have likely earned had they lived
- The reasonable value of services and support provided by the decedent, including future services and support they would have provided had they lived
- Mental pain and anguish experienced by the surviving family member due to the loss of the decedent
- Loss of advice, care, companionship, comfort, counsel, love, maintenance, services, society, and support provided by the decedent in life
In some cases, it may also be possible to recover punitive (or “exemplary”) damages. These are additional damages above and beyond the compensatory damages listed here and are meant to punish the defendant for gross negligence or a willful act or omission that led to the death.
They are responsive, ethical, and very effective. I wouldn't use anyone else.
After the tragic loss of your loved one, taking legal action may be the furthest thing from your mind. However, at Kelley Law Firm, we firmly believe that you and your family deserve justice—and we want to help you fight for the fair compensation you are owed. As your legal team, we will handle every detail so that you can focus on spending time with your loved ones and healing.
Our Dallas wrongful death attorneys are here to answer your questions and provide the guidance you need to feel confident in your case throughout the legal process. We work with accident reconstructionists, medical professionals, economists, and expert witnesses who provide powerful testimony on behalf of our clients. Our attorneys develop innovative, cutting-edge legal strategies and fight tirelessly for your rights, even when that means taking your case to court. Our aggressive approach has helped us recover more than half a billion dollars in compensation, and our genuine concern for the wellbeing of our clients has earned us a reputation within the local community as one of Dallas’s leading injury law firms.
Learn how our team can help with your case today; call (972) 853-5398 or contact us online to request a complimentary consultation.