When someone dies because of another’s actions or failure to act, their surviving family members have the right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. These claims offer the family financial accountability for their loved one’s death.
However, not every unexpected or accidental death provides grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. When there are sufficient grounds, the family must comply with procedural requirements that could seem complicated.
A skilled lawyer can help a family interested in filing a Temple wrongful death action. A wrongful passing attorney can explain the legal process, make sure the family knows what to expect, and provide guidance and counsel from start to finish.
Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 71.002 establishes the grounds for liability for a wrongful death. The law says a person is responsible when they contributed to a death through their careless or wrongful act or their failure to act to prevent a death.
Wrongful death actions could arise out of accidents and crimes. Some common situations that could lead to a wrongful passing claim include:
Even if the incident that killed a loved one is not listed above, a wrongful death lawsuit might be appropriate if another’s conduct contributed to the death.
Depending on the circumstances, several parties could be legally liable for a loved one’s death. For example, when someone dies in a truck accident, the truck driver, trucking company, truck manufacturer, and others could be liable. A Temple attorney can investigate the circumstances to identify all potentially responsible parties before filing a wrongful death claim.
Only close family members can file a claim for wrongful death. Typically, a surviving spouse brings a lawsuit. When the deceased person is a child at the time of death, their parents could bring the suit. Surviving adult children may also file a wrongful passing claim.
Unfortunately, the law sometimes excludes people who deserve to benefit from a negligent death lawsuit. For example, siblings, cousins, grandparents, and other relatives cannot bring a wrongful death claim, even if they shared a home with the deceased. Fiancés and live-in partners cannot file a wrongful death claim unless they fulfill the legal requirements of a common-law spouse. Stepparents and stepchildren do not qualify to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
When no eligible family member files a lawsuit within three months of the death, the Temple estate’s personal representative can file a wrongful death suit on behalf of the eligible family members.
Statutes of limitation govern how long a person has to file a lawsuit. In a Texas wrongful death case, the statute of limitations usually expires within two years.
However, when a government entity had responsibility for the incident, the time limits are much shorter. A family must notify the government entity of their claim within six months of the date of death. It is not always clear whether a government might be a defendant in a wrongful death case, so it is always best to consult an attorney in Temple before filing an action.
When grieving the unexpected loss of a loved one, focusing on practicalities can be challenging. Even so, it is worthwhile to discuss filing a Temple wrongful death action with an attorney after a loved one’s passing.
Money will not make the loss easier to bear, but relieving financial stress might allow you more energy to heal. Call today to discuss your case with a compassionate attorney.