Losing a loved one is a horrible and heartbreaking experience. Sometimes you know their death is coming and you can prepare for it, but you never get that chance when their loss is the result of someone else’s negligent action. Which means you’re forced to cope with that loss while trying to decide what you should do about it. That will never be easy – but you must understand there’s a time limit on what you choose to do.
The legal time limit
You may decide that a wrongful death lawsuit is one of the best actions you can take. It won’t bring back your loved one but at least you can hold the person who caused their death responsible for their actions. That can be critical to finding closure and moving on with your life. And while Texas gives surviving spouses, children and parents the right to sue under these circumstances, it also puts a time limit on that right.
The legal time limit is known as the statute of limitations – for wrongful death actions, that time limit is two years. Though there are a few exceptions, it means that the lawsuit must be filed within two years of the day your loved one passed away. If it is not, you lose the right forever.
Practical time considerations
Although Texas gives you two years, it’s inadvisable to wait that long to begin a wrongful death lawsuit. The reason is that your case will require evidence to prove, so that it is successful. That evidence takes time to collect. An investigation must be done and witnesses must be interviewed. The more time which passes, the more stale that evidence becomes, which could weaken your case from the beginning. Taking quick and decisive action may be the last thing you want to do when you’re grieving, but it may also be the best thing you can do for the memory of your loved one.