Who Has the Right to Seek Compensation After an Accidental Death?
When someone dies because of the careless or negligent conduct of another person, the potential losses can be immense. The deceased person may have been the primary provider for a spouse and children. There may have been significant uncovered medical expenses incurred by the deceased before death, as well as funeral and burial costs. Surviving family members may experience loss of comfort, companionship, or consortium, as well as the loss of services, such as child care, housekeeping, and cooking.
A wrongful death can have far-reaching impact, but what is the law in Texas regarding who can seek compensation after a fatal accident?
How Does Texas Define “Wrongful Death”?
Under Texas law, a wrongful death action may be brought when a person dies because of the “wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default” of another person.
Who Is Entitled to Seek Damages for a Wrongful or Accidental Death in Texas?
In Texas, a surviving spouse, child (minor or adult), or parent of the decedent has the legal right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. The parties may file separately or jointly. An adopted child may seek compensation for the wrongful death of an adoptive parent, but only if the adoption was finalized before the date of death. Likewise, adoptive parents have a right to seek damages after the wrongful death of an adopted child.
The executor or personal representative of the deceased’s estate also may file a wrongful death claim if no other eligible party does so within the 90-day period after the person’s death. Even then, a surviving spouse, child, or parent can prevent the claim from being filed by making a specific request.
Though siblings and other distant relatives do not have the right to individually file a wrongful death claim in Texas, they can potentially recover benefits in a claim filed by a personal representative or executor. Any proceeds recovered by the executor/personal representative become part of the decedent’s estate and are distributed under the will or through the intestacy laws of Texas.
Contact the Proven Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we understand the devastation when a family member has died because of someone else’s careless or negligent act. We know that no amount of money can bring them back, but we can help you hold the wrongdoers accountable for their actions.
We offer a free initial consultation to anyone who has lost a loved one in an accident. To set up an appointment with an experienced attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.