While death is a natural and expected part of being human, sometimes our loved ones are taken from us far too soon. When this happens due to someone else’s negligent or intentional actions, it can feel like you will never have justice or closure.
Families often feel like the courts overlook their pain when they fail to hold accountable people who were responsible for creating dangerous situations that led to their loved one’s death.
If you find yourself in this situation, you and your family may want to consider a lawsuit. In Texas, when your loved one can no longer advocate for themself, a parent, spouse, or adult child can help right the wrongs committed against them.
Or, you can pursue compensation for the losses your loved one’s death caused you and your family. In this blog post, the Grossman Law Offices team will help you understand what suing on behalf of a deceased person means and explain what your options might be.
What Does Suing on Behalf of a Deceased Person Mean in Texas?
When family members file a wrongful death claim, they are seeking compensation for the harm they have suffered because of their loved one’s death. However, Texas law also allows eligible family members or the estate’s personal representative to bring a lawsuit on behalf of the decedent. This is called a survival action.
Related: What Is the Difference Between a Wrongful Death and a Survival Claim in Texas?
A survival action allows you to pursue a claim on behalf of the decedent that they would have been able to pursue themself if they had not died. If you want to file a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased person in Texas, you should discuss whether filing a survival action is the right choice for you with an experienced attorney.
For example, if a person died as a result of medical malpractice, the surviving spouse, parents, or adult children can bring a lawsuit against the medical professional who was responsible for their death. They might elect to bring a wrongful death lawsuit to receive compensation for the losses they suffered because of their loved one’s death.
Wrongful death damages can include loss of support, loss of love and companionship, and mental pain and suffering. Or, they might want to pursue a survival action and sue on behalf of the decedent for the injuries and losses the decedent suffered before their death. In that case, the survival action claim will request the types of damages that are ordinarily available in a medical malpractice claim. In a wrongful death claim, the family members receive the compensation, and in a survival action, the decedent’s estate receives the compensation.
Related: Who Can File a Claim Under the Texas Survival Statute?
At Grossman Law Offices, we can help you navigate the complexities of filing a lawsuit after a loved one’s death and help you fight for the compensation your family deserves. While money cannot bring your loved one back, being fairly compensated for your losses can relieve some of your financial burdens during a difficult time.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?
To file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas, a "wrongful death" must have occurred. The definition of wrongful death includes:
- Any kind of injury that causes a person’s death or a fetus’s failure to be born alive; and
- An injury caused by another person’s or entity's wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, lack of skill, or default.
In Texas, the decedent’s spouse, parents, or adult children may file a claim for wrongful death or a survival action. If those parties do not file a claim within three months of the decedent’s death, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a claim.
If your loved one suffered an untimely death due to the negligent conduct of another person or entity, contact Grossman Law Offices today. Our personal injury lawyers have helped thousands of Texas families get justice.
When Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Be Filed?
In Texas, there are specific circumstances in which a wrongful death lawsuit can be brought. The purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit is to compensate the decedent’s surviving family members for their loss and to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. The criteria a successful wrongful death lawsuit must meet include the following:
- The decedent must have died due to another person's negligence or wrongdoing; and
- The decedent’s surviving spouse, children, or parents must have suffered damages due to their death.
It is important to note that in Texas, the eligible family members or the personal representative of the estate must bring the wrongful death lawsuit within the statute of limitations, which is typically two years from the decedent’s date of death. While there are some exceptions to this rule, in most cases, if the lawsuit is not brought within this time frame, the right to bring the lawsuit may be forever lost.
How Grossman Law Offices Can Help
We understand that losing a loved one due to someone else's actions is one of the most difficult things a family will ever face. We have handled hundreds of wrongful death claims in our 25 years of practicing Texas law and can help you navigate this challenging time. Our experienced attorneys can answer your questions whenever it is convenient for you. Contact us today for a free consultation so that we can help you seek justice.