Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Texas
How Long Do You Have to File a Texas Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Picking up the pieces after suddenly losing a family member in a tragic accident can seem impossible, especially in the beginning. You need time and space to grieve, but, in the face of your pain, life goes on—bills need to be paid, you need to go to work, and those who depend on you need your care and attention. Amid all these overwhelming burdens, thinking about a lawsuit may seem like too much.
However, wrongful death compensation can go far to help you carry forward and cover the costs associated with your loss. There is a time limit—called a statute of limitations—for bringing a wrongful death claim in Texas, so the sooner you talk to a wrongful death attorney the better. Read on for more information about filing a wrongful death action within the required time limit established in Texas law.
The Texas Statute of Limitations for Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Under Texas law, the surviving spouse, children, and/or parents of the deceased person must file a wrongful death lawsuit within two years of the deceased person’s death. If the surviving spouse, children, or parents do not file a wrongful death claim within three months of the date of death, the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate may file the claim instead, unless a surviving family member specifically requests that the wrongful death claim not be filed. The two-year time limit still applies to the estate, despite having to wait three months to file the wrongful death claim.
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Exceptions to Texas’ Two-Year Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
There are specific exceptions to Texas’ two-year statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. These include when the person bringing the claim is a minor child, when the defendants to the action (or their negligence) were unknown, in the case of fraud, and mental or physical incapacity. For minor children, the two-year statute of limitations does not start until the child’s 18th birthday. However, a minor child does not have to wait to file a claim. A parent or guardian may pursue a wrongful death action on a child’s behalf.
Where the defendants or negligence were unknown, the statute of limitations starts when a reasonable person would have known they had a cause of action. Likewise, with fraud, the statute may be extended to the time the family of the deceased person discovered the fraud. In the case that a family member with a cause of action for wrongful death suffers from a mental or physical impairment that prevents them from filing within two years, the statute may be extended to accommodate the incapacity.
Speak with an Experienced Houston Wrongful Death Attorney Before Your Statute of Limitations Expires
If you have lost your spouse, parent, or child due to the negligence, recklessness, or wrongdoing of another party, you may be entitled to wrongful death compensation under Texas law. To ensure you file your wrongful death claim in time, talk to an experienced Houston, Texas wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. In the Houston area, contact Charles J. Argento & Associates at 713-225-5050. Mr. Argento is a compassionate and aggressive lawyer with experience handling wrongful death cases arising from car accidents, dangerous premises and products, work-related accidents, and medical malpractice, and he is prepared to help you.