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Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Texas – What You Need to Know


Under Texas Statutes section 71.001, a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas may be initiated if a party dies because of “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another party.

A Texas wrongful death claim may be filed by the surviving spouse, adult children, and parents of the deceased. The claim can be filed singly or as a group. These relatives have three months to file a wrongful death claim after which the executor of the dead individual’s estate may file such a claim.

Adopted children can file wrongful death claims for the death of an adoptive parent, but not biological parents. On similar lines, adoptive parents can file a claim for the wrongful death of an adoptive child. Siblings, whether biological or adopted, cannot file a wrongful death claim in Texas.

A wrongful death claim must be filed by the surviving family members. In a criminal liability matter, the charges are pressed by the prosecuting lawyer, and the case will involve probation, imprisonment, fines, and other penalties. In a wrongful death claim, the liability is restricted to economic damages. A wrongful death claim can be filed alongside a criminal liability charge.

The damages in a Texas wrongful death claim can compensate for –

  • Loss of earning.
  • Loss of care, support, service, and advice that the departed would have given to the family.
  • Mental trauma and pain.
  • Loss of companionship.
  • Loss of future savings and inheritance.

Texas law provides for exemplary damages for wrongful deaths resulting from willful acts of omission or because of gross negligence. The objective of such damages, also known as punitive damages, is to punish the guilty party and send a strong message that such acts of negligence will not be tolerated.

The court determines the proportion in which the damages are to be distributed among family members of the deceased, depending on the extent to which they suffered from the loss.

Main Office, Corpus Christi:

921 N. Chaparral Suite 100
Corpus Christi, Texas 78401

Phone: 361-454-1000

San Antonio Office:

700 N. St. Mary's Suite 1400
San Antonio, Texas 78205

Phone: 210-904-1000

Austin Office:

3800 N. Lamar Suite 200
Austin, Texas 78756

Phone: 512-543-1000

Edinburg Office:

204 E Cano
Edinburg, Texas 78539

Phone: 956-242-7000

Houston Office:

1700 Post Oak Boulevard 2 Blvd Place
Houston, Texas 77056

Phone: 713-660-7018

Laredo Office:

1100 Matamoros Suite 200
Laredo, Texas 78040-7804

Phone: 956-242-7000

Dallas Office:

2911 Turtle Creek Suite 300
Dallas, Texas 75219

Phone: 972-363-6616

Victoria Office

101 W. Goodwin Suite 750
Victoria, Texas 77901

Phone 361-575-3101

Port Lavaca Office

402 W. Main St.
Port Lavaca, Texas 77979

Phone 361-552-3100

Brownsville Office

222 N Expressway 77 Suite 100
Brownsville 78521

Main Phone 956-242-7000

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