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What Is the Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

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Losing a loved one due to someone else’s poor judgment is a devastating experience. It’s unfair that you’ve lost someone dear to you and may be stuck with lost income, medical expenses, burial costs, and other expenses. The Texas law allows victims’ family members to seek justice through a wrongful death lawsuit in such cases. Understanding how the legal process of a wrongful death claim works is essential to act before it’s too late.

What Is a Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations is the time period when a person can still pursue a claim against someone who committed an act that wronged them. A suffering victim or mourning family usually has a lot on their plate, and the last thing they want to do is start a complicated legal process. However, by better understanding this crucial aspect of Texas wrongful death claims, individuals can make informed decisions and take appropriate actions within the prescribed time frame of pursuing legal action.

Why Does Texas Have a Statute of Limitations?

It may seem odd that the court can’t prosecute someone whose actions or gross negligence killed someone because it happened too long ago. However, there are some excellent reasons for this requirement. A statute of limitations on pursuing legal action for harm helps ensure timely claims resolution, that evidence is preserved and available, and fair legal treatment of defendants. Imagine someone accuses you the wrongful death of their family member. You believe you are innocent and have evidence to demonstrate it, but no legal action has been taken against you yet. If no statute of limitations existed, you might feel that unresolved accusation hanging over your head for years. The court could find that your recollection of the events and the evidence proving your innocence is outdated or dubious because it is being reviewed years after. After much time has passed, finding additional corroborating evidence and witnesses is far more challenging. By setting a deadline for legal action, the statute of limitations allows potential defendants a sense of security that the matter will be either addressed and resolved fairly and promptly or those involved cannot pursue legal action.

Understanding Texas Laws Around Wrongful Death

Wrongful death occurs when another person’s negligent, reckless, or even intentional actions cause a person’s death. In Texas, the law takes these cases very seriously. There is a legal path for surviving family members of those who died wrongfully to seek compensation and hold the responsible party accountable. Wrongful death claims can arise from various incidents, including car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, and more.

Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations

In Texas, the general statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is two years from the date of the individual’s death. Victims, such as the surviving spouse, must file a lawsuit for their claim within two years to preserve the right to seek compensation. It is important to note that this two-year period starts from the date of death and not from the date of the incident that caused it.

Exceptions and Special Circumstances

While the general statute of limitations is two years, certain exceptions and special circumstances may affect the time limit for filing a wrongful death claim in Texas. It is best to consult with an attorney as soon as possible if there are any unique circumstances like those below involved in your case.

Discovery Rule

In cases where the cause of death was not immediately apparent, the statute of limitations may begin from the day a person was found deceased or reasonably would have been found deceased in normal circumstances.

Governmental Entities

If the responsible party is a governmental entity or employee, additional notice requirements and shorter timeframes for filing a claim could exist.

Minors or Persons with Disabilities

If the deceased person was a minor or had a disability, the court may extend the statute of limitations to allow additional time for the victim to file a lawsuit. In these cases, it can be common for families not to know the death of their family member occurred wrongfully until other evidence comes to light.

What Happens If I Fail to File Within the Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

Failing to file a wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations can have significant consequences, like being ineligible to file wrongful death claims at all. If the deadline passes, the court may dismiss the case, barring the family from pursuing legal action. This loss of opportunity can result in the loss of potential compensation and closure for the family. Understanding and abiding by the applicable statute of limitations is crucial to protect the legal rights of you and your family.

Contact the Kahn Law Firm Today for a Free Consultation

While the general limit is two years from the date of death, exceptions may apply depending on the circumstances. Understanding the statute of limitations is vital as it ensures timely action, preserves evidence, and safeguards the family’s legal rights. Wrongful death lawsuits can get complicated. If you find yourself in such a situation, consulting with an experienced wrongful death attorney is highly recommended. A legal expert will help you navigate the complexities of wrongful death claims and ensure you don’t miss important deadlines of legal proceedings. The Kahn Law Firm legal team has years of experience ensuring our clients get the compensation owed to them. Call us at (713) 999-6549 to schedule a free no-obligation consultation with our team today. We will fight for your rights and ensure negligent parties are held accountable.
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