Who Can Sue in a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Under Texas law, the surviving spouse, children, or parents can file a wrongful death lawsuit. They can file it jointly, or any one of them can file it individually on their own behalf and on behalf of other potential parties. Further, the executor of the deceased party’s estate can also file a wrongful lawsuit for their benefit if none of the above separately file– within three months after the injured party’s death.

Understanding who can sue in a Texas wrongful death lawsuit is only one aspect of recovering the largest potential damages in any given case. If a loved one dies in a Dallas or Collin County vehicular accident, a knowledgeable and experienced Texas wrongful death lawyer can provide the guidance and representation you need to file and prosecute against the responsible parties

Can domestic partners file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Texas’s wrongful death claims are strictly governed by a state statute that limits the parties that may file a lawsuit. A surviving spouse in a same-sex marriage can sue for wrongful death, but surviving partners from informal relationships cannot. Further, a deceased party’s brothers and sisters, uncles, and aunts, cousins, and other non-immediate relatives have no statutory right in Texas to file.

Are there similar limits on who can file a Texas survival action?

Suppose an injured accident victim does not die immediately in an accident but expires more than thirty days later. In that case, their estate, heirs, or legal representatives can file a survival action to recover compensation to pay for the medical costs and expenses, pain and suffering, and other damages that the injured party suffered– between the time of the accident and their death.   

What information should parties include in a Texas wrongful death claim?

The parties that are authorized to file a Texas wrongful death can sue for compensation that will reimburse their costs and expenses after their family member dies due to accidental injuries. At a minimum, this will include the amount that the family pays for a funeral and interment. They can also seek damages for the salary or wages that the accident victim would have earned if they were still working and other financial benefits that the victim brought their family.

Given this, a wrongful death attorney will calculate damages based on the victim’s age, the state of their health, and how long they would have lived– if the accident did not happen.

What kinds of accidents can give rise to a Texas wrongful death lawsuit?

Texas wrongful death claims can arise from several kinds of events and circumstances, including:

  • car and truck crashes
  • medical negligence
  • slip and fall accidents
  • excessive use of force by law enforcement officials
  • neglect and abuse in eldercare facilities
  • defective or unsafe consumer products

In all cases, the accident’s specific facts will determine the surviving parties’ rights to collect damages. With a wrongful death in a Dallas car accident, for example, the facts might show that the negligent party habitually drove while intoxicated, was texting while driving, or was speeding or operating their vehicle in an unsafe manner. These and other facts will demonstrate the level of negligence that caused the accident and will strengthen the arguments for recovery of the largest available damages award.

Contact us for a confidential and free consultation

The sudden and accidental death of a beloved family member is emotionally devastating. Our team at Angel Reyes & Associates/Reyes Browne Reilley can help make sure it is also not financially devastating. Please see our website or call our offices directly for a free consultation with one of our attorneys about your right and opportunity to file a Texas wrongful death lawsuit.