Who can sue for wrongful death in Texas?

The death of a loved one, especially when it is attributable to someone else’s illegal, reckless or negligent actions, can be quite difficult to deal with. If you believe your loved one’s death resulted from negligence, you deserve justice.

However, the state of Texas has strict guidelines on who is allowed to file a wrongful death claim. Chapter 71 of the Texas statutes specifies who can pursue damages following a loved one’s wrongful death. Under this statute, the plaintiff may seek the following claims during the wrongful death lawsuit:

  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Any medical expenses incurred by the deceased from the time of their injury to death
  • Any lost earnings by the deceased from the time of injury to their death
  • Future income had the deceased survived the injury that resulted in their death

Under Texas statute, the following people can file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the deceased’s death.

The decedent’s family

Texas law allows the decedent’s immediate family to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. These are the decedent’s spouse (both from a formal and common-law marriage), biological and legally-adopted children and parents (both biological and adopted). However, Texas law does not allow the decedent’s siblings to bring a wrongful death claim. Likewise, individuals who are named as beneficiaries of the deceased’s estate cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.

Personal representative to the deceased’s estate

In the absence of the spouse, children or parents, the state of Texas allows the executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate to file a wrongful death claim. The compensation amount will then be paid directly to the decedent’s estate.

The sudden death of a loved one will always leave a huge void in your life. However, a wrongful death lawsuit ensures that you hold the negligent party legally responsible for their actions while pursuing compensation for the resulting damages.