Wrongful Death

Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim?

Posted by admin on July 20, 2020
Do You Have a Wrongful Death Claim?

There are many factors to consider when deciding whether you have a wrongful death claim, including how the death occurred and your relationship to the deceased victim. The best way to know is to consult with an Austin wrongful death attorney.

Learning that a loved one was in a fatal accident is devastating, and it is natural for loved ones to want justice. In addition, an unexpected death can leave families with financial losses and concerns for the future. You might have a feeling that you have the right to take legal action, but how do you know for sure?

Texas law has strict guidelines regarding who can file a wrongful death claim, and if you are not within your rights, any claims you file will be dismissed by the court. The best way to avoid this is to discuss your situation with an experienced Austin wrongful death lawyer, who can examine several factors and advise whether you have a claim.

How Did Death Happen?

This is the first question to consider, as a death must qualify as “wrongful” for a claim to be possible. Wrongful death in Texas is one caused by:

  1. Neglect
  2. Carelessness
  3. Unskillfulness
  4. Default
  5. Intentionally wrongful (and often criminal) acts

Many causes of death might qualify, including traffic crashes caused by other drivers, accidents due to defective and malfunctioning products, violent assaults, and many more.

How are You Related?

Just because you loved someone and feel the effects of the loss does not mean that you have the right to file a claim under Texas law. For example, if you had a close friendship and were roommates with someone for several years, and they suddenly died, you might experience losses from the death, but you do not have the right to recover via a wrongful death claim.

Instead, the following individuals have this right in Texas:

  • Surviving spouse: If your spouse was the victim of wrongful death, you can file a claim. This goes for common law marriages, as well as putative spouses who believe they are married despite the marriage technically being invalid.
  • Children: If a parent passes away, children can join the wrongful death claim or bring one themselves. This includes legally adopted children, though adopted children lose the right to bring a claim if a biological parent dies.
  • Parents: Parents can file a claim for the wrongful death of a child, including for an adopted child.

If none of the above file a claim within three months of the death, the personal representative of the estate can do so, as long as the family has not requested to refrain from filing a claim. The personal representative is designated in the will or appointed by the probate court if the deceased did not have a will. The proceeds of this claim would go to the estate, which will then be passed on to the beneficiaries, including the spouse, children, or parents.

Contact Our Austin Wrongful Death Lawyers for the Help Your Family Needs

The law firm of Terry & Kelly, PLLC, represents families following a tragic loss. We can evaluate your case for free and advise you of the best way to proceed in your situation. Call (512)-910-2000 or contact us online today.

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