What is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death in Texas?
If you’ve had the unfortunate experience to lose a loved one in wrongful death, grieving the loss can take many months to many years. However, during this understandably difficult and emotional time, it’s in your best interests to contact competent legal help before the statute of limitations expires and you’re no longer able to seek just compensation for your loss. Additionally, certain exceptions exist that can allow for an increase in the time allotted for wrongful death statute of limitations. To further assist you in understanding the statute of limitations for wrongful death cases, Our Texas wrongful death attorneys explain what that means, as well as the multiple exceptions that might benefit your case. More on this website
What is the Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Cases?
The statute of limitations equals the time that you have as a possible plaintiff to bring legal action against a possible defendant. In wrongful death cases, the statute of limitations allows two years from the date of the accident for a victim to resolve a claim or file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the following exceptions can apply to certain instances. Contacting our competent lawyers can help you understand if such exceptions might apply to your case.
Plaintiff Cannot File Due to a Physical or Mental Incapacity
A mother and daughter might be involved in an auto accident caused by the negligence of a drunk driver where the daughter dies and the mother is in a coma for five years. The mother has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, but she was physically incapable of doing so within the two-year statute of limitations. This is an exception that can result in an extension, allowing the mother to bring a wrongful death suit against the responsible parties.
Unknown Accident Cause or Unknown Defendant
A man may unexpectedly die and his autopsy shows little as to the cause of his death. Many years later a certain experimental drug that he was taking is shown to have contributed to his death. Even if two years have passed, the victim’s family may still be entitled to present a wrongful death suit. This is known as the discovery rule in Texas law and means that, if a plaintiff doesn’t know what caused a wrongful death or who perpetrated the crime, the statute of limitations does not begin until that information has come to light. This allows for just compensation to be made to a victim’s family if pertinent information regarding a victim’s death was not known at the time of their passing.
Some defendants in wrongful death cases might attempt to lie about their involvement in the death for two years, hoping that they’ll never be found out during the statute of limitations. If this perpetrator is found to have been lying about their involvement and can also be held responsible for wrongful death, an extension can be granted allowing you to seek fair compensation for your loss.
The Plaintiff is a Minor
Minors that can be plaintiffs in a wrongful death case have until the age of twenty years old to bring a suit against a possible defendant. Essentially, their statute of limitations for bringing a case starts when they turn 18, giving them two years from that time to seek justice for their loss. Sometimes it’s better that a parent or guardian brings a suit on behalf of a minor before that minor is of age to do so themselves. Plaintiffs in many wrongful death cases are served best by quick action after the accident has occurred. Evidence can be lost over time and witnesses might not be as valuable years in the future when the minor can bring their own lawsuit. If a parent or guardian brings a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a minor, a court-appointed ad litem third-party attorney will be assigned to the child to ensure that his or her best interests are being served by the lawsuit. If a lawsuit is not brought on behalf of a child while they are still a minor, that child retains the right to seek just compensation when they turn eighteen.
Unknown Date of Death
If a victim’s family is under the impression that their loved one has been missing for years, only to find out after two years or more that their loved one was in fact murdered, that family may be entitled to an extension. Since the victim’s family was not aware of their loved one’s death at the time it occurred, an extension may be granted so that the family can seek fair compensation.
Did You Know? Our Law Office has been fighting for wrongful death victims’ rights for over 20 years. Call our Law Office to discuss your case.
Our Experienced Texas Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help.
Should you be in the position to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against a responsible party, it’s important that you act quickly and contact us to understand what your options might be. Wrongful death cases have a statute of limitations of two years; in instances like those described above, you may be able to extend that time. Whatever the case may be, you should contact us as soon as possible after a wrongful death accident to allow us to help you understand which instance might fit your case. The competent Texas wrongful death lawyers at our Law Office have 20 years of experience in dealing with the intricacies of these kinds of cases. We’re here to help you in your time of need, and will seek to help you get fair compensation for your loss.