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Understanding Wrongful Death Statutes of Limitations

By Greg Burton on November 01, 2018

A gavelLosing a loved one is difficult no matter the circumstances. If a wrongful death occurred and could have been prevented, it can be even more difficult for family members.

If the loss of a loved one was the result of wrongful death, it's important to act fast to pursue a wrongful death claim. There is a limited time in which this type of claim can be filed.

Attorneys Randy Akin and Greg Burton are knowledgeable about the wrongful death statutes of limitations in Texas. Contact our Longview, TX practice. We are ready to help you in your time of need.

How Long Is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

In wrongful death claims, there is a limited window in which surviving family members can bring forth legal action. This window is known as the statute of limitations.

In most states, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the time of death. However, some states only allow one year.

There are exceptions in many states to the two-year statute of limitations. Wrongful deaths involving minors and those with mental disabilities often follow different rules. Wrongful deaths involving fraud also have different rules and complexities.

When Does the Wrongful Death Statue of Limitations Start?

The clock on the statute of limitations for wrongful death may begin at the time of death, or more commonly, the date of discovery.

The date of discovery refers to the date in which the negligent or harmful act that led to wrongful death was discovered. This is particularly beneficial when a negligent act is discovered more than two years after a loved one's death.

Although the statute of limitations would have run out based on the date of death, the date of discovery revealed that negligence occurred, giving surviving family time to take legal action.

It should be noted that in some states there are time restraints on the date of discovery. This is to prevent filing wrongful death claims decades after a death occurred.

For example, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years from the date of discovery, which must also fall within five years of the date of death.

Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Texas

Like most states, Texas has a two-year statute of limitations for filing wrongful death claims. If a family tries to file a case after the statute of limitations has expired, they will not be able to bring their case to court.

An exception will be made by the courts if new evidence or information is discovered years after the death. The date that such evidence or information was discovered is considered the date of discovery and is also the date at which the two-year clock for the wrongful statute of limitations may begin in the state of Texas. 

Act as Soon as Possible

Time is limited in filing a wrongful death claim. If you believe a loved one's death occurred because of the negligence of another party, it's important to contact a wrongful death attorney so that a wrongful death case can be filed as soon as possible.

Filing a wrongful death case as soon as possible is essential for gathering and preserving evidence. A wrongful death attorney can gather appropriate evidence, interview witnesses, and protect your rights.

Contact Our Wrongful Death Attorneys

If you have lost a loved one in a wrongful death accident, attorneys Randy Akin and Greg Burton can help your family get the justice you deserve. Call (903) 297-8929 to schedule a consultation with one of our wrongful death attorneys before the statute of limitations runs out.

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