How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?

March 19, 2019 | By DJC Law Attorneys
How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?

The loss of a loved one is always a shocking event. But when that loved one was killed by another person’s reckless, negligent, or intentional conduct, then surviving family members usually want some measure of justice.

In Texas, you can bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the person whose wrongful acts contributed to your loved one’s death. As a leading Austin personal injury law firm, we have handled several wrongful death cases arising out of workplace incidents, car accidents, and criminal activity. If you want to talk with an attorney, please reach out to us today for a free consultation.

Time Limits for Filing

You can find the time limits for filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the state’s statute of limitations. Generally, you have two years from your loved one’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If your loved one died in a car accident on July 4, 2017, you have until July 4, 2019 to file.

There are some exceptions to this rule:

  • A minor child gets more time to sue. For example, if a young child’s parents are killed, he gets two years after he becomes an adult, which basically means he gets until age 20 to bring the wrongful death lawsuit. Of course, a minor’s guardian or parent can bring a wrongful death claim earlier—and probably should.
  • If the defendant committed fraud to conceal their own involvement in the death, then plaintiffs usually get more time.
  • If the defendant’s identity or negligence was not known, then the “discovery rule” comes into play. This rule basically says that the two-year limitations period doesn’t start to run until a reasonably careful person would have discovered the negligence.
  • Someone incapacitated can get more time to sue. For example, two spouses might have been involved in an accident that killed the husband and left the wife in a coma. If she comes out of it in three years, she can bring a wrongful death lawsuit outside the two-year limitations period.

Missing the deadline can be costly. Texas judges will dismiss a case that is filed after the limitations period. This means you can’t get any compensation from the person who is responsible for your loved one’s death.

Avoid Delay—Contact DJC Law Today

It is best not to wait when bringing a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. You want quality evidence, which unfortunately has a tendency to disappear the longer you wait. Witnesses can move or forget key details, and important documents might be shredded or lost. The faster you act, the more likely it is that your attorney can obtain the evidence necessary to sustain a successful case.

At DJC Law, we have extensive experience with wrongful death cases. If you sense the deadline approaching, please contact us as soon as possible. We can get a case filed in the appropriate court and protect your rights. We can also negotiate with the defendant for a favorable settlement.

Contact us today. You can schedule a free initial consultation by calling 512-888-9999.