If you live in Dallas, Texas and you lost a loved one in an accident that another person or entity caused, you could be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In this state, Texas Statutes section 71.001 states that a legal action for wrongful death can occur if a wrongful act, carelessness, neglect, unskillfulness or default led a party to cause the death of another party.
Who May File?
The spouse, children and parents of the loved one can file a claim in Texas. Any of these persons can file the claim on their own or they, as a group, can file a joint action.
But if the spouse, children or parents do not file the lawsuit within 90 days of the death, the executor or personal representative for the estate can file it. That applies unless one of the surviving family members requests that the lawsuit not be filed.
Texas allows adult children to file a wrongful death lawsuit for the death of one or both parents.
A child that was adopted also may file a claim if the adoptive parent died, if the child was legally and fully adopted by the parent. But the adopted child cannot file the claim for the death of the biological parent if that child has been legally adopted under Texas and U.S. law.
Adoptive parents also can file suit if an adopted child is killed in an accident caused by another party.
The Filing Process
Note that a wrongful death lawsuit differs from a criminal case in two ways. In the wrongful death action, the family member or personal representative needs to file the suit directly. Liability in a civil action is represented only by monetary damages. But in a criminal case, charges will be filed by the prosecuting attorney, and guilt may be punished by jail, prison, fines, or probation. Also, a wrongful death claim can be filed whether or not criminal charges are filed against the person who caused the death.
In cases where there was serious negligence and a death, many Texas families decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Even if the person responsible is convicted in a criminal court and goes to jail for 20 years, that does nothing to provide the family with financial compensation for their terrible loss. So, filing such a lawsuit is often a prudent action.
Have You Lost a Loved One in a Dallas Accident? Call Guajardo & Marks Today.
Losing a loved one in a preventable accident is devastating. Not only are you dealing with the horrible emotional and personal loss of your loved one. There also are often serious financial concerns. What if the deceased was the head of the household and provided most of the income for the family? In a case where an accident caused by another party led to your relative’s death, you may have the right to compensation in a wrongful death lawsuit. Please contact us today at Guajardo & Marks law firm for a free consultation.