Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas

By Hardin Ramey on January 25, 2019

Lady JusticeIn the state of Texas, a wrongful death is considered any death that was caused by the negligence, carelessness, wrongful act, default, or unskillfulness of another party.

When a wrongful death has occurred, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed so family members can seek damages for the loss of a loved one. However, in the state of Texas, only certain family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit in the event of losing a loved one.

Wrongful death attorney Hardin Ramey provides this brief explanation of who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.

Surviving Spouse

In the state of Texas, the decedent's spouse has the right to file a wrongful death claim if there is evidence his or her spouse died as a result of another party's negligence or wrong doing.

Surviving spouses may seek damages for a wide range of losses, including a loss of earning capacity, as well as intangible losses, such as loss of companionship, love, and comfort.

Decedent's Children

Adult children are also entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the state of Texas in the event of a wrongful death of a parent.

The right to file a wrongful death claim also extends to adopted children, provided they are fully and legally adopted by the deceased parent. It should be noted, however, that in the state of Texas, adopted children may not file a claim for the death of a biological parent.

Adult children may seek damages for such things as lost inheritance (which would consider what the decedent would have saved and left to surviving family members had he or she lived longer), as well as lost services, support, and care.

Decedent's Parents

Parents who have lost a child due to wrongful death may seek damages by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. In the state of Texas, adoptive parents are also entitled to file a claim for an adopted child.

Parents who have suffered the untimely and wrongful loss of a child may seek a wide range of damages, including pain and suffering.

Claims May Be Filed Individually or as a Group

A surviving spouse or children, or the parents of someone who has suffered a wrongful death may file their claims individually or as a group.

Personal Representative or Executor of the Estate

Non-family members cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas unless they are a personal representative or executor of the decedent's estate and the spouse, children, or parents do not file a wrongful death claim within three months of the death.

However, surviving family members may request that a wrongful death claim not be filed, in which case the representative or executor would not be able to file a claim.

Siblings and Non-married Partners Cannot File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Although immediate family members, including spouses, children, and parents, are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit, siblings aren’t eligible to file suit in the state of Texas. This includes biological and adopted siblings.

Non-marital relationships are not recognized in Texas when it pertains to filing a wrongful death claim. Significant others who are not married are unable to seek damages through a wrongful death claim.

Additionally, step-children who are not formerly adopted are also not able to file a wrongful death claim for the death of a step-parent. Likewise, a step-parent who has not formerly adopted a step-child cannot file a wrongful death claim in the event of the child's death.

Schedule a Consultation with Wrongful Death Attorney Hardin Ramey

If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death and have questions about filing a wrongful death lawsuit, please call (972) 437-5577 to schedule a private consultation with attorney Hardin Ramey.

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