Novemeber 7, 2023

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations Texas

By: Feltoon Law 

wrongful death statute of limitations texas

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Losing a family member or loved one is distressing and can cause both emotional pain and financial difficulties. Although the life of the deceased individual can never be replaced, there are Texas laws in place that can support the surviving family and help alleviate the financial burden of their passing.

Through the Texas Wrongful Death Act, families of people killed due to someone else’s negligence can seek compensation through legal action. This compensation covers the financial and emotional toll of the loss as well as any financial earnings the individual would have received in the future.

In order to receive compensation, these family members must file their claim within the proper time frame, a legal constraint known as the wrongful death statute of limitations. While the loss of a loved one is immeasurable, the timeframe for seeking justice is short. Therefore, understanding the wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas is crucial for anyone seeking justice.

If someone you care about has been harmed due to someone else’s carelessness, seek advice from a legal professional and learn what options you are afforded to by Texas law. For compassionate and qualified legal care, contact personal injury lawyer Feltoon Law, PLLC at (737) 281- 9100 today for a free consultation!

What is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations Texas?

The statute of limitations is a law that sets the deadline for starting legal actions after an incident. Wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas is 2 years starting from the date the incident occurs. Once the two year statute of limitations expires, individuals can no longer file a lawsuit.

The wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas was set up to make sure legal actions are started within a reasonable time frame. This time limit helps disputes get resolved quickly and ensures the preservation of evidence and that the memory of witnesses remains intact.

The 2 year timeline for the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases typically begins from the date of the accident or the date of the victim’s death. In most cases, the clock starts ticking on the statute of limitations from the moment the wrongful act, negligence, or misconduct that led to the person’s death occurred.

Understanding Wrongful Death

Wrongful death is when someone dies because of another person’s careless or harmful actions, and their family can seek compensation for the loss. However, in the state of Texas, the law considers only the parents, spouse, and children as “statutory beneficiaries.” In order to file a wrongful death claim and seek to recover damages, you must be considered a statutory beneficiary.

Potential Wrongful Death Damages in Texas

The term “damage” means any recoverable loss allowed by the law. Damages for wrongful death include the “full value of life” lost as well as the emotional and financial injury of the surviving family members. The “full value of life” refers to the overall worth, both in financial and emotional terms, of the contributions and support the deceased person would have provided to their family if they had not passed prematurely.

Compensation in a wrongful death claim could include:

  1. Emotional distress
  2. Expenses such as funeral costs and medical care
  3. The loss of household income
  4. The loss of love and companionship
  5. The loss of household services such as chores, household maintenance, and childcare
  6. The loss of parental support and guidance if the deceased person had a child
  7. The loss of inheritance, which includes any savings or assets the deceased person would have collected if they had lived to their normal life expectancy

Exceptions to Statute of Limitations

Although 2 years is the standard wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas, there are specific situations in which the timeline can be extended.
  • Minors: If the individual bringing the claim is a child under the age of 18, the 2 year statute of limitations does not begin until their 18th birthday. Although this extended timeline is available, minors do not necessarily have to wait to file their claim. The parent or guardian of these children can pursue a wrongful death claim on their behalf while they are still underaged.
  • Incapacitated: The time limit for filing a claim can be extended if someone is unable to do so due to a legal incapacity. This extension will pause the 2 year timeline until the incapacitated person can effectively begin the legal process. 
  • Concealment or Fraud:  Sometimes the information needed to prove wrongful death was purposefully hidden from the family of the deceased. In these circumstances, the statute of limitations would not start until after someone uncovered the evidence of wrongful death.
  • Unclear Negligence: In other cases, information surrounding negligence and the cause of death may not be immediately apparent. According to the discovery rule, the statute of limitations would start after the family finally discovers the negligence that caused the untimely death of their loved one.

Legal Assistance

Feltoon Law, PLLC, a personal injury law firm in Austin, TX, has expert knowledge of wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas. We offer compassionate and honest legal care that aims to support and uplift victims and families.

If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, we will fight to get your family the justice you deserve. To learn more about wrongful death statute of limitations and how we help our clients find justice, contact us online or call (737) 281-9100.

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