(281) 371-6345

Understanding the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Texas

  1. Understanding the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Texas
  2. When Does the Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations Begin?
  3. Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death Claim
  4. Wrongful Death Lawsuit vs. Criminal Murder Case
  5. Finding the Right Texas Wrongful Death Attorney is Essential

Understanding the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Texas

If you’ve experienced the wrongful death of a loved one that occurred because of someone else’s neglectfulness or carelessness, you are familiar with a deep kind of pain that no one should have to experience. The death of your spouse, parent or child has changed your life forever, and it could have and should have been prevented.

Everyone handles grief in their own way, but some people are reluctant to pursue a wrongful death claim and would prefer to move past the incident. Nothing can bring back your loved one, but compensation from a wrongful death lawsuit can help with any lost wages, lost household labor contributions, and provide a head start for young children.

The deceased person’s family, meaning the surviving spouse, child or parents, have two years to file a claim before the Texas wrongful death statute of limitations runs out. If they do not file within three months, the executor of the deceased person’s estate may file the wrongful death claim.

However, it may take a wrongful death lawyer time to investigate and prepare the case, so it is better to start working with an attorney as soon as you can. With an advocate on your side, like the team Will Adams Law Firm, you can be assured that you will receive compassion and support as you seek closure and justice for the death of your loved one.

When Does the Texas Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations Begin?

The statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim is two years, but when does the clock start? The legalese says that the Texas statute of limitations runs out “two years after the day the cause of action accrues.” This date is typically the date that the deceased passes away, which may be days or weeks after the date of the accident.

Specifically, the surviving family members must file a wrongful death claim before the statute of limitations runs out. The case itself does not have to be settled by that date.

The accident itself may give you a cause for a legal claim, like a personal injury lawsuit. If the victim’s death occurs later due to the accident, then this is what initiates the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims.

There are some exceptions to this, depending on the circumstances.

You can be assured that you will receive compassion and support as you seek closure and justice for the death of your loved one.

RELATED: What Families Should Know About Texas’ Wrongful Death Statute

Exceptions to the Statute of Limitations on a Wrongful Death Claim

Certain circumstances may either delay the start date of the wrongful death statute of limitations, or they may pause it. This is called “tolling” the statute of limitations. If this happens, you have additional time to file a wrongful death claim for your loved one.

  • As a minor child, the statute of limitations does not initiate until the child turns 18. It is always possible to file the wrongful death lawsuit prior to the minor turning 18, but if they choose to wait, they can.
  • If you were reasonably unaware of the negligence, or the negligence was concealed, then the wrongful death statute of limitations does not begin until the day you discovered the negligence.
  • If you were incapacitated, such as if you were involved in the same car accident that caused the wrongful death claim, then the statute of limitations does not begin until you are competent again. Mental or physical impairment may qualify as incapacitation.

A wrongful death lawyer can answer your specific questions if you have reason to believe your wrongful death claim should be tolled. A compassionate firm, like Will Adams Law Firm, can respectfully allow you to grieve while also making sure you are educated on your legal options.

RELATED: How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out in Texas?

“Will treats his clients with great kindness and compassion. He fully understands the pain and injustice each victim is going through. This compassion and understanding allows Will to prosecute your case to the fullest. Will is tenacious in pursuing what he feels is the correct settlement for his clients.”

- B & ES – Dallas, TX

“Will, Chris & Sarah. K and I just want to thank you so much for everything you’ve done for us and our family. Throughout this process you have kept us informed and been patient with us (especially me) as we navigated through unchartered territory. Putting things in your hands allowed Karl and I to focus on him getting better.”

- SC – Katy, TX

“Hi Will, I just wanted to take a minute and let you and your wonderful staff know just how much we appreciate each one of you! All of you have been so great to us. Y’all have always answered any and all questions immediately and never left us hanging or wondering about anything. All of you have made this.”

- SB – Katy, TX

"Dear Sarah, you are the best legal assistant in the history of such creatures of legend and lore. (And Brian is in the tribe too) Do take a copy of this email to your next annual performance review... you have raised the bar. Thank you for all your help!"

- AM – Houston, TX

"I wanted to thank you both for a job well done and for an outcome that far exceeded my expectations. I appreciated your expertise and your thoroughness of preparation, as well as keeping me informed of the possible outcomes at each major point.Will, I think that Chris did an excellent job and wanted to bring that to your attention."

- MJ – Katy, TX

Wrongful Death Lawsuit vs. Criminal Murder Case

Criminal murder charges are different from a wrongful death claim. For one thing, there is no statute of limitations on murder charges. This is a criminal case, whereas a wrongful death claim is a civil case.

In wrongful death claims, the victim is seeking financial compensation in the form of damages, much like in personal injury claims. If the defendant is facing criminal murder charges, their guilt must be proved “beyond a reasonable doubt,” and the consequences of a conviction can be a jail or prison sentence.

It is possible for one defendant to face both a wrongful death lawsuit and criminal charges for the accident.

Finding the Right Texas Wrongful Death Attorney is Essential

If you would like to file a wrongful death lawsuit, finding the right wrongful death attorney is essential. At Will Adams Law Firm, we have experience with wrongful death lawsuits and know how important it is to treat our clients with respect, dignity, and compassion during this period of grief.

We never want to see a member of our community face this suffering alone, so please call us for a free case evaluation where you can learn your legal options. You can call our office at 1-800-559-0593, or fill out our online contact form to get started. This is an emotionally trying time, it shouldn’t be a financial burden as well. Call us today and let us help you heal and recover from this wrongful death in your family.

References

First, L. (Year, Month Day). Web or newspaper article title. Name of Website or Publication. Retrieved from URL

First, L. or Organization Name. (Year, Month Day). Title of government/nonprofit study or report. City, ST: Name of Publishing Organization. Retrieved from URL

First, L., First, L., & First, L. (Year, Month Day). Journal article title. Name of Journal, vol#(issue#), page#–page#. doi:number. Retrieved from URL

Organization Name. (Year, Month Day). Press release title [press release]. Retrieved from URL

Title# C. Abbrev. § Section# (Year).

The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.

Top Case Results

$40.5M Settlement

After an oilfield worker ran a stop sign causing a fiery crash that severely burned a man to death leaving behind a wife and two young daughters, we took the insurance company to the courthouse steps for this record settlement.

Total To Client:
Attorney Fee and Expenses:
Car Crash
$4.5M Settlement

After a product failed and caused extensive harm to our client, we fought for their right to fair compensation and made sure they got what they needed to recover.

Total To Client: $2,467,929
Attorney Fee and Expenses: $2,032,071
Product Liability
$3.7M Settlement

A dangerous 18-wheeler crash threatened our client’s future, so we made sure they had the resources and compensation they needed to recover.

Total To Client: $2,428,211
Attorney Fee and Expenses: $1,271,789
18-Wheeler Crash
VIEW ALL RESULTS