The Texas Wrongful Death Act

The Texas Wrongful Death Act permits family members of the decedent to a civil claim (lawsuit) against the negligent party in order to recover damages covered under the chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code. The statute defines the circumstances under which this can be done, as well as the parties who have the legal right to do so.

Chapter 71 of the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code defines wrongful death as a situation in which an individual dies in an accident as the result of carelessness, neglect, unskillful operation, or default on the part of an individual or corporation. What this means is that if an individual dies because of the negligence of another person, in most cases, the family can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party.

Texas Wrongful Death Act
Texas Wrongful Death Act

Filing a claim.

Under Texas statutes, only certain members of the decedent’s family are permitted to file a wrongful death claim. The family members who are permitted to file wrongful death claims are called beneficiaries, and include the following:

  • Surviving spouse
  • Children of the deceased
  • Parents of the deceased
  • Adopted children and parents (provided the adoption was legal)

The perspective family members can file their claims individually or as part of a group. Unfortunately, Texas law does not allow siblings of the deceased to file a claim. Only those mentioned above are permitted to be party to a wrongful death claim.

Potential damage awards.

The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate the surviving family for any losses that resulted (or will result) from the loss of their loved one. The types of damages survivors can collect vary, and are contingent upon the relationship between the deceased and the survivors. Some of the damages that may be recoverable include:

  • Mental anguish
  • Loss of earning capacity
  • Loss of inheritance
  • Loss of household services
  • Loss of care, counsel, guidance, or support
  • Loss of companionship or love

Sometimes when the death results from willful or gross negligence, the family can also recover punitive damages.

Survival claims.

Not only can family members recover their own related losses, The Texas Wrongful Death Act also allows them to pursue the deceased party’s personal injury claim (if the decedent endured pain and suffering prior to death). This type of claim is called a survival action, and seeks compensation that the decedent could have collected himself if he had survived to file a personal injury lawsuit.

Some of the damages that may be recoverable include physical pain and suffering and mental anguish that the decedent endured prior to his or her death. Other damages that fall into this category include medical expenses that resulted from trying to save the decedent, as well as burial expenses.

Statute of limitations.

Family members in Texas must file a claim within two years of the decedent’s death, or they are statutorily barred from filing a lawsuit. While there are a few exceptions to Texas’ statute of limitations, it’s best to assume the lawsuit must meet the two year deadline. Wrongful death lawsuits are quite complicated, so it’s best to speak to an attorney as soon as possible. Waiting even a few weeks can jeopardize your case as evidence needs to be collected as soon as possible.

If you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit and need to speak to an experienced attorney, our firm is happy to provide free consultations by phone or email. All you need to do is fill out the contact form on this page, or call our office (toll-free) at (214) 651-6100.

Speak With a Dallas Wrongful Death Lawyer For Free

The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at (214) 651-6100.

Request a free consultation below



2525 McKinnon Street #550 Dallas, Texas 75201

Note: The information that was utilized in this post was gathered from the use of secondary sources. This information used has not been confirmed or independently verified. If you locate any information that is not correct, please contact our firm as soon as possible so that we can make the appropriate corrections. If you find any information that is false, we will remove or correct the post immediately after it is brought to our attention.

Disclaimer: As a valued member of the Dallas community, Rasansky Law Firm’s goal is to improve the safety of all residents in the great state of Texas. These posts should not be viewed as a solicitation for business and the information included herein should not be taken as medical or legal advice. The photos used in this post are not representative of the actual crash scene.

Related Post

February 28, 2023
How to Prove Negligence in a Texas Wrongful Death Claim

It goes without saying that filing a lawsuit for wrongful death may be complicated and emotionally fraught. A lawsuit or claim for wrongful death seeks compensation or damages against the person or parties […]

Read More
February 11, 2023
The Five Most Common Kinds of Texas Wrongful Death Cases

The death of a loved one is a very trying ordeal for anyone to experience, but when that death was caused by another person’s negligence, it often leaves surviving family members feeling completely […]

Read More
January 29, 2023
How Do You File a Wrongful Death Claim in Dallas?

It goes without saying that the process of filing a wrongful death claim can be complex. A wrongful death lawsuit or claim seeks compensation or damages against the person or parties found to […]

Read More

Why Choose
Rasansky Law Firm

Over 30+ Years Of Personal Injury Experience

Top-Rated and Award-Winning Personal Injury Lawyers

Attorneys Available to Discuss Your Case Now

No Fee Unless You Win

Free Confidential Consultation.

Request A Free Consultation

Fill out the form below to receive a free and confidential initial consultation with an experienced personal injury lawyer.