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Texas Wrongful Death vs. Survival Action

Posted on June 5, 2023

In the unfortunate event of a person’s death due to another party’s negligence or intentional actions, the legal system provides two distinct avenues for seeking justice and compensation in Texas: wrongful death claims and survival actions. While both legal actions address the loss of a loved one, they serve different purposes and have distinct requirements. A Waco wrongful death lawyer can provide guidance, assess the circumstances, and advocate for the rights of the affected parties.

Texas Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims in Texas aim to compensate the surviving family members who have suffered losses due to the death of a loved one. The Texas Wrongful Death Act allows specific family members to seek financial recovery for the damages they have incurred.

Key Aspects of Texas Wrongful Death Claims

  • Eligible Plaintiffs: The deceased person’s surviving spouse, children, and parents can file a wrongful death claim. If none of these individuals are alive or willing to pursue the claim, the executor or administrator of the deceased’s estate may file on behalf of the estate’s beneficiaries.
  • Recoverable Damages: Damages in a wrongful death claim can include economic losses (such as medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost earning capacity), as well as non-economic losses (such as pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress).
  • Burden of Proof: The burden of proof lies with the plaintiff (victim’s family), who must establish that the defendant’s (at-fault party’s) negligent or wrongful actions directly caused the death of the individual.

Survival Actions in Texas

A survival action, on the other hand, is the personal injury claim that the deceased person could have pursued if they had survived their injuries. Essentially, a survival action allows the deceased person’s estate to seek compensation for damages the decedent suffered before their death.

Key Aspects of Survival Actions in Texas

  • Eligible Plaintiff: The executor or administrator of the deceased person’s estate files the survival action on behalf of the estate.
  • Recoverable Damages: In a survival action, the damages awarded are intended to compensate for the losses the deceased person suffered before their death. This includes medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages they would have been entitled to had they survived.
  • Burden of Proof: As with wrongful death claims, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff to demonstrate that the defendant’s negligence or intentional actions caused the deceased’s injuries and subsequent death.

Is There a Time Limit on Wrongful Death Claims and Survival Actions?

Yes, there are time limits, known as statutes of limitations, for both wrongful death claims and survival actions in Texas. It is important to be aware of these time limits, as failing to file a claim within the specified timeframe can result in losing your right to seek compensation.

Wrongful Death Claims

The statute of limitations is generally two years from the date of the individual’s death.

Survival Actions

For survival actions in Texas, the statute of limitations typically depends on whether the injured person filed a personal injury lawsuit before their death. If the injured person had initiated a personal injury claim during their lifetime but subsequently passed away, the survival action must generally be filed within two years from the date of the individual’s death.

Contact an attorney at Craft Law Firm to guide you through the legal complexities surrounding wrongful death and survival actions.