The death of a beloved family member is an immense tragedy for any family. The unfortunate incident leaves the surviving family members in a tough situation both financially and emotionally. The feeling becomes much worse if the incident has occurred due to the fault of someone else and could have been easily avoided. While it is not possible to settle the worth of our loved ones, sometimes having a financial benefit can help reduce the distress of the family.
That is why the state of Texas introduced the wrongful death statute. This wrongful death statute of limitations Houston requires the claim of wrongful death to be made two years from the death of the person.
Wrongful Death Statute Of Limitations Houston
A lot of legal claims in Houston have certain limitations. Under the law of the state, there are two types of actions that the surviving members of a deceased can claim in Texas, namely the surviving action and wrongful death action.
Earlier, in the state of Texas, the surviving members of a deceased’s family did not have an option to sue for the damage of their loved ones. But according to the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code Title 4, Chapter 71, the law serves the basis for wrongful death and survival actions and lawsuits in Texas.
Time limit to file wrongful death claim
To be precise, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Texas is set at two years after the death of a person. However, it is essential to note that the rule might apply differently for every circumstance and case. This is the reason why you should discuss your case with the best wrongful death lawyer in town to get all the details about your claim.
It is always beneficial to visit the attorney as soon as possible because the time is very limited, and the case itself would consume a lot of time. If you fail to file the claim within two years, you are most likely to lose the opportunity of getting any compensation for the death of your lost one.
Difference between wrongful death claim and survival action claim
Wrongful death claim:
A wrongful death claim is a legal action that can be taken by the family of a person who died due to the wrongful actions of another person or organization. The surviving members of the deceased’s family are given an amount in compensation for the death.
The purpose of this action is to provide financial aid to the family who has recently lost a precious member. There can be various type of wrongful deaths like a car accident, pedestrian accident, consumption of a damaged product, workplace accidents, or medical malpractices. In such cases where the deceased has nothing to do with the incident, and it was purely due to the fault of someone else, the government allows compensation.
Survival action claim:
Survival action claim is very similar to wrongful death claim. In the survival action claim, the family of the deceased person is allowed compensation for the time of accident till the time of actual death to compensate for the suffering and pain endured by the victim till his death. These include medical charges, funeral and burial expenses, and lost earnings of the deceased.
Why Families Don’t Bring Wrongful Death Claims
Suffering from emotional trauma
The family members of a person who has just died are in a lot of emotional trauma to think about anything that could possibly help them in any manner. Emotional attachment to the deceased does not allow them to think of any benefit they can attain from their deaths. But putting in a claim for wrongful death can not only help the family cope with financial situations and extra expenses but also offer a sense of justice to the deceased.
Ready to forgive the person responsible
A lot of families are ready to forgive the person who caused them such harm because forgiveness is always easier than trying to go through the trauma again and again. It is also because it is an essential part of moving forward in life. But when a person fails to file a wrongful death claim, many insurance companies use this situation to their benefit.
Why Is It Essential To Get Over This Reluctance?
While it is quite understandable that family members don’t want to pursue legal obligations and file a case against the person responsible, it is a wrong move. Especially when the person who died was a breadwinner, people must claim compensation for wrongful deaths. Failing which, they would be losing an opportunity to get hundreds or thousands of dollars.
Compensations Available to the Family of Deceased
Some of the compensation that the family of a deceased are entitled to after a wrongful death claim are usually known as exemplary and actual damages.
Actual damages include:
- A financial loss like the loss of earning capacity of the deceased. Along with that, the damage might include the value of maintenance, support, care, and service that they would have provided to the family if they were alive.
- Mental anguish is basically the emotional suffering that the family had to go through due to the unfortunate incident.
- The loss of attachment, love, comfort, and companionship from death.
- Loss of inheritance that the deceased would’ve otherwise provided if they were alive.
Who can claim for the wrongful death of a person?
According to the statute laid by the state of Texas, only the children- adopted or biological, parents- adoptive or biological, and the spouse can put a claim for the wrongful death. However, stepparents or stepchildren aren’t allowed this benefit.
What proofs are required to get compensation?
In order to get compensated for the wrongful death of a person, you would have to prove:
- That you are a valid beneficiary of the person, who was wrongfully killed.
- That the death has occurred due to the negligence or wrongful act of the defendant.
However, in some cases, it might be a bit tricky because a lot of people would try their best to defend the case and try to put the blame back on the deceased. Since the person responsible is no longer an eyewitness, there are cases where the deceased’s family has lost the case because of the cunningness of the defendant.
The process of filing a wrongful death lawsuit is not so easy. The family might not be ready for months before going ahead with the case. This might be because of emotional stress or handling matters that require immediate attention after the sudden demise of a person. Funerals and other rituals might further delay the instigation of legal procedures.
But it is important to start with the procedures as early as possible as it would require a good amount of time to gather the necessary proofs, preserve or gather all the evidence, take statements from eyewitnesses and prepare a legal file. Since Wrongful Death Statute Of Limitations Houston allows only two years for the family to file the case, it is always a good idea to start early.