Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in the State of Texas?
The state of Texas only allows certain family members, or statutory beneficiaries, to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of their deceased loved one. As we saw on the Explaining the Basics page, if anyone effected by the decedent's passing could file a claim, the courts would be overrun.
In this article, and the articles that follow, we'll take a look at:
- who statutory beneficiaries are
- who can't file a claim in the state of Texas
- what steps to take if you have a claim
Who is a Statutory Beneficiary?
Not all family members can file a wrongful death claim. The state of Texas established the Texas Wrongful Death Act. This statute allows certain family members to sue for damages when a relative is wrongfully killed.
The family members that can file a claim include:
- Parents of the deceased
- Spouse of the deceased (this also includes those involved in a "common law" or "informal" marriage)
- Children of the deceased (biological and adopted)
These beneficiaries can file a claim for compensation for their own mental anguish and suffering.
Who Can't File a Claim?
You might notice that there are a few people excluded from the list above that you might expect. Those defined as statutory beneficiaries varies from state to state. For instance, in Arkansas siblings can also file a wrongful death claim. But lawmakers in Texas have not extended this provision.
At Grossman Law Offices we understand and respect that families come in all shapes, sizes, and configurations. Unfortunately, Texas law is not as quick to adapt.
You'll also notice that statutory beneficiaries do not include: unadopted stepchildren, long-term boyfriends/girlfriends, or grandparents. For the purposes of wrongful death claims, the court has decided that these family members are too far removed to have the legal standing to make this kind of claim.
Taking the First Steps
We understand that losing a loved one as a result of someone else's negligence is a difficult thing. You have questions about the kinds of damages you can recover and how to best go about getting fair compensation. We've handled hundreds of wrongful death claims in our 25 years of practicing Texas law. Our experienced attorneys are available to answer your questions whenever is convenient for you. Give us a call at any time, any day of the week. We're always available to our clients: (855) 326-0000.