Find Out How Long You Have to File a Wrongful Death Case in Texas
You don’t have unlimited time to file a wrongful death case in Texas after you lose a loved one due to negligence. In fact, Texas state laws restrict the amount of time to pursue these claims in order to motivate prompt filings and prevent litigation years after evidence is no longer available.
Understanding how these statutes of limitations work for wrongful death cases in Texas is crucial to protecting and asserting your rights to justice.
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases in Texas
The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases in Texas is two years. That means you would have to file a wrongful death claim within two years, and if you don’t, you can lose the chance to file a case forever.
Keep in mind that the two years for filing a wrongful death claim in Texas begins as of the date of:
- The accident or incident that caused the death
- The death itself, if the victim survived the injuries for some period of time after the injury-causing event
Exceptions to the Rule
While the two-year statute of limitations for Texas wrongful death cases applies to many claims, there are some exceptions to the rule. Specifically, exceptions would apply when:
- The plaintiff is a minor: Children who are bringing wrongful death claims would generally have two years following their 18th birthday to file a claim. In other words, children’s claims cannot expire until they are legal adults.
- The negligence is not discovered until later: If fatal injuries are caused by negligence that isn’t detected for months or years following the death, the statute of limitations may not start counting down until that negligence is discovered. This could happen in the case of asbestos exposure, defective products, or dangerous drugs that may take time to come to light.
- The defendant committed fraud: If the negligent party committed some type of fraud to conceal their involvement in an accident and death, there may be more time for plaintiffs to file claims.
- The plaintiff was incapacitated: Plaintiffs who are in a coma, for example, would not have the capacity to assert their rights and file a claim. In these cases, there can be exceptions and more time to file a wrongful death case.
These are not the only exceptions to the two-year statute of limitations for Texas wrongful death lawsuits. That’s why it’s essential to talk to an experienced wrongful death lawyer and find out:
- Whether you have a claim
- How long you have to pursue a wrongful death case
- What needs to happen next in order to initiate your claim
Why It’s Generally Best to File a Wrongful Death Case Sooner, Not Later
Two years can sound like a lot of time, but it can go by quickly — and waiting until the last minute to file a wrongful death case will not typically serve you as well as filing a claim promptly. That’s because:
- Evidence to prove wrongful death can disappear with time (i.e., surveillance video and physical evidence from the scene).
- The defense may have a much stronger case the longer you wait to file.
- There’s really no advantage to waiting to file a claim, but there can be several downsides.
Get the answers, advice, and advocacy you need for a wrongful death case by talking to an attorney. There’s no cost or obligation to learn more about your rights, and you don’t have to pay anything to retain a wrongful death lawyer because experienced wrongful death attorneys work on contingency. That means you have nothing to lose by seeking legal advice and retaining case-winning representation.