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Who can file a wrongful death claim in Texas?

If you lost a loved one unexpectedly due to another driver’s negligence or recklessness, Texas law may allow you to file a wrongful death claim for damages. Though compensation cannot bring your loved one back, it may provide the funds necessary to cover damages associated with his or her death, including everything from funeral expenses to lost income.

Not just anyone can file a wrongful death suit, though. FindLaw explains who may file a wrongful death claim in Texas, and what types of damages said individuals can expect to recover.

Possible wrongful death claimants

Generally speaking, states only allow dependents of the deceased to file civil actions for compensation. Texas law does not differ in this regard, though it does allow for a couple of exceptions. You may file a wrongful death claim in the Longhorn State if you are one of the following:

  • The spouse of the deceased
  • A child of the deceased
  • A parent of the deceased
  • The representative of the deceased’s estate

If you meet the criteria, you must file a claim within two years of the date of the deceased’s death; otherwise, you forfeit your right to compensation.

Types of damages you may recover

The types of damages you may recover in a wrongful death suit look slightly different than those you could collect in a personal injury claim. If you have a case, the courts may award you compensation for loss of financial support, mental anguish, loss of companionship, medical bills, the deceased’s pain and suffering, and funeral and burial costs. Depending on the circumstances surrounding the incident, the courts may also award punitive damages. The courts award punitive damages — otherwise known as exemplary damages — to punish defendants for gross negligence or a willful act or omission.