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What is statute of limitations for a wrongful death action?

On Behalf of | Mar 9, 2018 | Wrongful Death |

Unexpectedly losing a loved one in The Woodlands can leave a massive void in your life. The hope is that with the passage of time, the emotional wounds that you and others affected by his or her death experienced will begin to heal. Those may become ripped open once again, however, if you later discover that his or her death was due to another’s negligence. If and when this happens, you may certainly fill justified in seeking compensation for your loss. Yet can you? 

The law imposes a statute of limitations (a deadline after which you cannot commence legal action) for certain civil claims. According to Section 16.003 of Texas’ Civil Practice and Remedies Code, in the case of wrongful death, the statute of limitations is two years from the date your loved one died. There are, however, certain exceptions to this rule. 

What if one of your parents died while you were still a minor? In this case, the two year time limit that you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit begins when you reach the age of majority. Therefore, if his or her death occurred when you were 15, you technically have until you are 20 to bring action against the negligent party. You do not necessarily have to wait until you turn 18; an adult can commence a claim on your behalf. 

A legal principle also exists known as “The Discovery Rule.” This allows the date from which a statute of limitations begins to be that date that you discover the cause of action in your case. Say that your loved died six years ago, yet you only discovered the circumstances that led to his or her death six months ago. You now have an additional 18 months to pursue a lawsuit.