In Texas, there is generally a 2 year statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit from the date of the individual’s death. However, there are some exceptions and circumstances that could alter the timeline. It’s crucial to consult with an attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases in Texas to get accurate and up-to-date information based on your specific situation. They can provide guidance tailored to your case and help ensure that you meet all the necessary deadlines.
Statutes of limitations are time limits set usually by state law that require a party to bring an action within a certain period of time. There are statutes of limitations for many crimes, for debt and for other legal causes of action. All civil actions have specific statutes of limitations.
Each state provides a specific statute of limitations for bringing forth a claim. In many states, the time limit is the same for wrongful death cases as it is for any other type of personal injury claim. In other states the time limit may be different or even shorter for wrongful death cases. The range for states is between two to six years from the date when the cause of action accrued.
Factors that Affect the Statute of Limitations
Certain circumstances involved in the case may impact the statute of limitations. In some instances, it may be as short as one year. For example, there are often different rules for when the government is the defendant, often including a shorter statute of limitations. If the victim was a minor or mentally disabled, the statute of limitations may be longer. Another time in which the statute of limitations may be different is when fraud or intentional acts were involved. In some instances, the statute of limitations may be shorter for certain causes of death such as medical malpractice.
Timing of the Clock
In most situations, the statute of limitations begins from the date of the misconduct that caused the victim’s death. However, there may be special circumstances that go outside this general rule, such as:
The Discovery Rule
In some situations, a plaintiff may not know that a wrongful death has occurred until some time after the death and he or she could not have reasonably known this. For example, the cause of death may not have been known until an autopsy was performed or new information was discovered after the death. Therefore, the statute of limitations often does not begin until the actual misconduct is discovered. However, the caveat to this rule is that the plaintiff must have used reasonable diligence to discover the misconduct. If the cause of death was apparent, the courts will hold the plaintiff to the general statute of limitations.
Some states have begun to curtail this extension of time. For example, some states place an upper limit on the discovery date for certain types of cases, such as medical malpractice claims. Such a statute may specify that the plaintiff can bring a lawsuit within three years from the date of discovery but not more than five years from the date of the actual misconduct that led to death.
Tolling the Statute of Limitations
Some state laws allow a tolling of the statute of limitations. This possibility may arise in cases in which a minor is the proper plaintiff to bring the party. He or she generally cannot exhaust the statute of limitations during his or her minority. The statute may not begin ticking until after the child becomes a legal adult. Courts must often weigh the ability of the plaintiff to bring a claim against the potential prejudice of the defendant.
In some cases, the rightful plaintiff would have been the person who later died as a result of the misconduct. This can occur when a personal injury case arose before the decedent’s death. If the decedent did not file a claim before his or her death and the statute of limitations expired for the personal injury claim, a wrongful death lawsuit will be time-barred.
Product liability cases are sometimes a special case. Some states have enacted statutes of repose which prohibit bringing forth claims regarding product liability cases when the product is a certain age and has been off the market for a certain period of time.
Individuals who would like to bring a wrongful death lawsuit may wish to consider retaining an attorney for this purpose. He or she can explain the applicable statute of limitations and whether any exceptions apply.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
In Texas, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit is generally granted to the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased individual. If none of these parties file a lawsuit within three months of the person’s death, the executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate may also have the authority to file a wrongful death claim.
It’s important to note that the specific rules and eligibility criteria can vary depending on the circumstances and the relationship to the deceased person. Consulting with a qualified attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases in Texas is advisable to understand your rights and options accurately. They can provide personalized guidance based on your specific situation.
Spanish Speaking Wrongful Death Attorney in Houston, Texas
Spanish-speaking individuals can have a more difficult time seeking justice in their personal injury cases due to language barriers. This causes them to not take action against those who have left them with financial devastation and physical trauma. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you.
We make it easy for those who have been injured due to the actions of others to navigate the legal system in order to get the results they need to continue on in their lives. Schedule your no-obligation car accident consultation with Attorney Caruthers today. Our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure your needs are being met and that you are getting the treatment you deserve in your car accident case. Don’t hesitate, the sooner you call the more we can do to get you results.
Houston Car Accident Attorney for Wrongful Death Suit
Have you lost someone in a motor vehicle accident and are now seeking monetary damages? Surviving family members may be eligible for financial compensation by winning a wrongful death lawsuit.
If you or someone you love has suffered an injury, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work due to a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you!
Our team works hard to bring the most efficient and practical solutions to your car accident case. Beverly R. Caruthers proudly serves and defends the Greater Houston area including but not limited to Baytown, Conroe, Crosby, Humble, Huntsville, Lake Jackson, Missouri City, Pasadena, Spring, Tomball.