Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Oct 18, 2019

Wrongful death lawsuits may seem fairly straightforward: a person is killed due to the negligence of another, and another person subsequently brings a lawsuit on the decedent’s behalf. Yet who exactly can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

In many states, it is left up to the personal representative of a decedent’s estate to initiate a wrongful death claim. That makes sense given that damages for such an action are awarded to a decedent’s estate. It is then through the administration of the estate that those affected by their passing are compensated for their loss.

Texas state law, however, differs in its assignment of responsibility regarding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Section 71.004 of the state’s Civil Practice and Remedies Code states that the only people entitled to benefit from such a cause of action are a decedent’s spouse, children or parents. Because of this, you are only entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit if you shared one of these relationships with the decedent. If you do, then you may choose to bring your own individual claim, or you can file a collective claim as a group.

Of course, there are always exceptions to every rule. If you have lost a loved one and are in need of legal advice as to your potential claims, please contact us for a free consultation. We are available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.