Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Texas?

who can sue for wrongful death in texas

In Texas, wrongful death claims represent a significant area of civil law addressing the consequences of a person’s death caused by another’s negligence or misconduct. These legal actions enable the surviving family members or beneficiaries to seek justice and financial compensation for their loss. Understanding who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit is crucial as it determines who can pursue these claims and potentially receive compensation for their emotional and financial damages.

For those considering pursuing a wrongful death claim in Texas, it is advisable to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. Contacting The Callahan Law Firm can provide you with the necessary legal support and ensure that your rights and interests are effectively represented in these complex matters.

Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in Texas

A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit filed by family members of someone who died due to the negligent or wrongful act of another person or entity. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to hold the at-fault party accountable and allow the surviving family members to pursue compensation for their loss.

Some common examples of incidents that may lead to a wrongful death claim include:

  • Car, truck, or motorcycle accidents caused by a reckless or impaired driver.
  • Medical malpractice, such as a misdiagnosis, surgical error, or medication error that results in a patient’s death.
  • Workplace fatalities due to unsafe conditions, lack of proper training, or negligence by the employer.
  • Defective products that malfunction and lead to a fatal injury.
  • Violent crimes such as murder or manslaughter.
  • Nursing home abuse or neglect leading to the death of a patient.
  • Dangerous property conditions that lead to fatal slip-and-fall or drowning accidents.

The key element that must be proven in most wrongful death claims is negligence on the part of the at-fault party. The surviving family members must show that the defendant acted carelessly or failed to take reasonable precautions, directly leading to the death of their loved one. Simply showing that a death occurred is not enough – the negligent actions or inaction must be demonstrated. If this seems overwhelming, don’t worry; an experienced wrongful death attorney can investigate the claim and gather evidence to prove negligence took place.

Eligibility to File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas

In Texas, the law regarding who can file a wrongful death claim is specific and exclusive to certain family members. Only the parents, children, and spouses of the deceased have the legal right to initiate these claims. This provision ensures that those most directly affected by the loss have the opportunity to seek compensation for their emotional and financial damages.

Joint Filing of Wrongful Death Claims

Family members who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim have the option to file jointly. This means that any combination of the relatives who have the legal right to sue can come together to file a single claim.

This collaborative approach can be beneficial as it consolidates the legal process and may help in presenting a united front in court. However, joining in a single claim is not mandatory; family members can choose to file separately if they prefer. The flexibility in filing allows each family member to decide the best course of action based on their individual circumstances and legal advice.

Executor’s Role in Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

If none of the eligible family members (parents, children, or spouse) file a wrongful death claim within three months of the death, the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate is then permitted to file the claim on behalf of the estate. However, this action can be blocked if the eligible family members explicitly express their desire not to pursue a claim.

To effectively block the estate from filing a claim, eligible family members often need to formalize their decision through legal means. This typically involves consulting with and obtaining representation from a wrongful death lawyer, who can assist in drafting and submitting the necessary legal documents to prevent the estate from proceeding with a claim. This legal intervention ensures that the family’s wishes are respected and legally enforced, preventing any actions that might go against their expressed desires regarding the pursuit of a wrongful death claim.

Damages Available in Wrongful Death Claims

In a Texas wrongful death claim, the surviving family members can pursue compensation for various types of damages. Some key categories of damages available include:

Medical Expenses

Surviving family members can seek compensation for any medical expenses related to injuries or treatment stemming from the incident that caused the wrongful death. This includes ambulance fees, hospital bills, costs for surgeries or procedures, medication expenses, and any other healthcare costs.

Burial and Funeral Expenses

The family members filing the claim can pursue compensation to cover burial and funeral costs, which can often amount to thousands of dollars. These expenses include the casket, headstone, funeral service fees, burial plot, flowers, transportation of the body, and any other related costs.

Lost Income and Benefits

Eligible family members can also seek damages for the income and benefits the deceased would have earned had the wrongful death not occurred. This is calculated based on the deceased’s earning history, education and training, future career potential, and life expectancy.

Pain and Suffering

In addition to the economic damages above, Texas law allows recovery for non-economic compensatory damages like mental anguish, loss of companionship and society, loss of inheritance, and pain and suffering the survivors experience as a result of the loss.

This comprehensive approach to compensation aims to provide substantial relief to the bereaved, acknowledging both the financial impact and the profound emotional suffering caused by the wrongful death.

Choosing a Wrongful Death Attorney in Texas

When it comes to seeking compensation after losing a loved one to wrongful death, having the right attorney by your side is crucial. You’ll want to select a lawyer with extensive experience in personal injury law, as these cases can become quite complex. It’s also important to choose an attorney with specific experience in handling wrongful death cases. Not all personal injury firms have the skills and track record you’ll want for such a sensitive case.

At The Callahan Law Firm, our attorneys have decades of combined experience representing Texas families in wrongful death cases. We understand the nuances of proving negligence and calculating damages. Our firm’s compassionate yet aggressive approach has led to numerous seven and eight-figure recoveries for clients.

We have the resources and determination to stand up to even the largest insurance companies. Whether your case goes to trial or can be settled beforehand, you need knowledgeable counsel fighting for your best interests.

Don’t try to handle this situation alone. Contact The Callahan Law Firm today to schedule your no-cost initial consultation.

Choosing a Wrongful Death Attorney in Texas

Contact The Callahan Law Firm Today For Help With Your Wrongful Death Claim

Navigating a wrongful death claim in Texas can be a complex and emotionally taxing process. To ensure your rights are protected and to enhance your chances of receiving just compensation, it is advisable to seek legal assistance as soon as possible. Contact The Callahan Law Firm for guidance and support throughout your wrongful death claim. Reach out today to schedule a no-cost consultation with a Houston wrongful death attorney.


Who can bring a wrongful death claim in Texas?

In Texas, wrongful death claims can only be filed by the deceased’s immediate family members, specifically parents, children, and spouses. If none of these family members file a claim within three months from the date of death, the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate may file the claim unless explicitly prohibited by the family members.

How do you deal with wrongful death?

Dealing with a wrongful death involves both emotional support and legal action. Emotionally, it may be helpful to seek counseling or support groups. Legally, dealing with a wrongful death typically involves filing a wrongful death claim to seek compensation. It’s advisable to consult with a knowledgeable attorney who is experienced in wrongful death cases to navigate the legal complexities.

Who are the heirs for wrongful death in Texas?

In Texas, the heirs in a wrongful death claim include the deceased’s legal spouse, children, and parents. These individuals are entitled to pursue compensation through a wrongful death claim. If the deceased has no surviving immediate family, other relatives such as siblings or grandparents are generally not considered heirs for the purposes of a wrongful death claim in Texas.

What is the burden of proof in a wrongful death case?

The burden of proof in a wrongful death case in Texas is typically “preponderance of the evidence,” which is less stringent than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard used in criminal cases. This means the plaintiff must show that it is more likely than not that the defendant’s negligence or wrongful act caused the death of the deceased.