A statute of limitations is a time constraint that decides how long a person has to file a lawsuit in order to get justice. The purpose behind this limitation is to stop people from suing for wrongs committed many years ago. Every state has its own statute of limitations for wrongful death cases.
In Texas, the statute of limitation for wrongful death is two years from the date of the victim’s death, with very few exceptions. Our team of wrongful death lawyers at the Buzbee Law Firm can help protect your family’s legal rights and ensure that you can still take legal action.
What Is Considered a Wrongful Death Case in Texas?
Texas personal injury law allows an injured person to claim damages when someone else’s action caused the injury. These damages can be financial, like paying for medical bills or wages lost at work. Damages can also be non-economic, such as being awarded compensation for your pain and suffering.
When the victim is killed before they can seek fair recompense for their losses, what happens then? This is when a wrongful death claim enters the picture. The law suggests that if a person’s death is due to the wrongful act, negligence, or default of another party, the beneficiaries hold the right to file a wrongful death claim.
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Who Is a Wrongful Death Beneficiary in Texas?
Texas law carefully defines wrongful death beneficiaries so that step-parents who do not formally adopt a stepchild are not considered “surviving parents.” According to Texas law, wrongful death beneficiaries are:
- Surviving spouses
- Surviving children
- Surviving parents
For legal assistance, you can contact a wrongful death lawyer. At the Buzbee Law Firm our wrongful death attorneys will discuss the specifics of your case, then suggest to you the right course of action.
Texas Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Lawsuit
The statute of limitations for a wrongful death in Texas is codified under Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.001. The time limit to file a wrongful death claim is two years from the day of your loved ones death.
You only have a limited time to file your wrongful death case and get monetary compensation for your loss. If you are the surviving partner, parent, or child of the deceased, get in touch with a wrongful death lawyer in Texas as soon as possible so that you do not miss this deadline.
Tolling Statute of Limitation for Wrongful Death
Under certain circumstances, the statute of limitations doesn’t begin until a later date. Tolling the statute of limitations is the legal term for such a situation. In this case, the two-year time limit either starts at a later date or is stopped in the middle. This gives you more than two years to file your case.
In other words, if the statute of limitations is delayed or stopped at some point, the time you have to file a wrongful death claim is extended past two years from the date your loved one died.
The tolling situation arises when:
You Are a Minor
If at the time of incident you were a minor child, your two-year clock doesn’t start ticking until you turn 18 years old. For minor kids with a guardian or surviving parent, either guardian or parent can pursue the claim for wrongful death in Texas.
Negligence Was Identified Later
The course of action starts when the cause is identified. If you weren’t aware of the wrongdoing, your-two year clock also begins the day you found out.
Fraudulent Activity Was Noticed
When the person or company responsible hides the truth about wrongdoing, you get more time to file the lawsuit.
You Suffer Health Issues
If the death of your loved one scarred you physically or mentally, filing for a claim doesn’t happen immediately. Once competent, you can fight for compensation.
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Exceptions to the Two-Year Statute of Limitations
If a judge determines that a wrongful death is a derivative action, which occurs when it results from a personal injury, it can be dismissed if the limitation period exceeds. Another factor arises when product liability contributes to the wrongful death. In this situation, a separate statute of limitations applies.
The rules of discovery don’t apply in this situation. Last but not least, you should be aware of statutes of repose. This prevents people from filing a claim for a product that has been off the market for a considerable amount of time.
The Statute of Repose in a Wrongful Death Claim
Depending on when you found out and under what circumstances, you might be eligible to file a wrongful death claim more than two years after the death. However, be aware of another constraint. The statute of repose in case of wrongful death suit in Texas is ten years. This means that ten years is the ultimate deadline for wrongful death cases.
Type of Compensation in Wrongful Death Cases
Before you dig any deeper into understanding wrongful death cases, you must have a clear understanding of the types of damages that may be asserted in a Texas wrongful death lawsuit. The non-economic losses that survivors endured throughout their time of grief are referred to as “damages” in a wrongful death claim.
Damages covered in a Texas wrongful death case includes the following compensation:
- Paying medical bills for the injuries that resulted in death
- Compensating the loss of income during the time of injury till death
- Pain and suffering also have a price tag, but only when it is brought by injury that resulted in death
- Burial expenses
- Property damage
- Non-economic benefits suffered by the decedent’s family
The particular damages are determined by your relationship (wife, parent, or child) with the decedent
Consult a Wrongful Death Attorney in Texas Before the Statute of Limitations Expires
Have you lost someone you loved because of another party’s negligence? We understand that losing a loved one carries with it unimaginable sorrow and suffering. However, the reality is that even in grief, life marches ahead—bills don’t stop, you may have to resume working, and you still have other responsibilities.
When you are dealing with a loss, the last thing you need to worry about is filing a lawsuit. Let a wrongful death attorney in Texas from the Buzbee Law Firm take some of the burden off of you. Under Texas law, you are entitled to compensation for wrongful death. For your best shot at getting fair compensation, contact us today.