How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Losing a loved one in an accident is one of the most horrific and shocking things that can happen.
At The Francis Firm, we believe that when a family member dies in a preventable accident, whoever caused that accident should be held liable for the damages that result to surviving family members, such as the loss of income of the decedent, funeral and burial expenses, and the loss of companionship, guidance, and love. Many times the filing of a wrongful death case is necessary in order to recover these damages.
However, family members are often reluctant to bring forth a wrongful death claim. These claims can be emotionally trying and painful to navigate or even consider for this very reason. Family members who are dealing with grief may also feel unable to take on the burden of a lawsuit.
There Is a Limited Amount of Time to Act
While filing a wrongful death claim may be the farthest thing from your mind, if you don’t act now, you may lose your right to pursue damages.
Our Texas wrongful death attorneys at The Francis Firm can help you to understand the wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas and your legal rights.
What Is a Statute of Limitations?
A statute of limitations is a limit on the amount of time that a person has to pursue an action, either civil or criminal.
In regards to a wrongful death lawsuit, a statute of limitations is a cap on the amount of time that the plaintiff in a wrongful death claim has to file a lawsuit against the defendant (negligent party) in a wrongful death action.
What Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Texas?
The wrongful death statute of limitations in Texas is found in Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Section 16.003(b). According to the statute, a suit for Texas wrongful death damages must be brought within two years of the date that the cause of action accrues.
If you do not hire an attorney to file your claim timely, you lose your legal right to ever bring that claim.
Does the Statute of Limitations Start from the Date of Injury or Death?
For those who are attempting to navigate the wrongful death statute and make sense of statutory language, “the day the cause of action accrues” may be confusing. It is important to note that this is not the date that the accident occurred; it’s the date that the affected person died from their injuries.
That being said, this means that if a car accident occurred in January but the victim did not die from their injuries until March, the clock on the statute of limitations would not start ticking until the date of death in March.
What Happens if the Statute of Limitations Expires?
If the statute of limitations expires, then the plaintiff’s right to recovery is barred. This means that if more than two years pass from the date of death and you have not filed a lawsuit, you will be barred from recovery, with very few exceptions.
For the details on those exceptions, or if the two-year deadline is approaching, it is critical that you consult with an experienced Texas wrongful death lawyer.
Reach Out to Our Texas Wrongful Death Lawyers Today for Your Free Consultation
Waiting to pursue a wrongful death action is a mistake - your chances of recovering your maximum recovery are greater if you start the process earlier. Often, if you wait too long to consult an attorney, evidence and witnesses are lost and your attorney’s ability to obtain full compensation or even succeed with your claim is impaired.