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3 things families should know about Texas wrongful death lawsuits

Losing a loved one can be a traumatic experience. Especially when someone’s death is unexpected, family members may struggle to adjust. An untimely passing creates emotional trauma and may also generate a host of financial consequences for the people left behind when someone dies.

Surviving family members can sometimes turn to the legal system as a way to recover their losses after a tragedy. Wrongful death lawsuits are an option in certain situations. Families generally need to understand the three important facts below about lawful death lawsuits before they take any steps to seek justice.

Wrongful death lawsuits are different from survival actions

Someone’s premature passing can create a host of expenses. For example, someone may have incurred tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills before they died. A survival action is a lawsuit seeking to recover the expenses that the decedent could have requested compensation for if they had survived. A wrongful death action, on the other hand, is a lawsuit brought by surviving family members to recover their losses. Someone’s future wages and their contributions to the family can influence the value of a wrongful death lawsuit.

Only certain parties can file

A survival action seeking compensation for the losses the decedent could have requested compensation for typically starts with someone’s estate. The personal representative of their estate can initiate a survival action, as could one of their heirs. A wrongful death lawsuit on the other hand, usually originates with immediate family members. Spouses, children and parents are among the parties with the potential right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas.

Families must take action promptly

Like most other types of lawsuits, there is a statute of limitations for wrongful death lawsuits. In most cases, families must file the lawsuit within two years of someone’s passing. Although it can take years to process grief, those who want to pursue legal justice after a tragedy do not have the luxury of waiting until they have fully healed to act. Instead, they may need to view pursuing legal and financial justice as part of the grieving process.

Holding another party accountable for negligence or misconduct that resulted in someone’s death can give families closure and minimize the financial harm caused by someone’s tragic, premature passing.