Common Challenges in Wrongful Death Actions


A wrongful death action comes with challenges that don’t arise in ordinary negligence claims. The person who was harmed can’t speak for themself, and not all of their survivors may sue. The lawsuit, though beneficial, can be emotionally difficult.

Only Relatives May Sue For Wrongful Death

When you lose a loved one because of someone’s negligence, Texas law provides remedies. However, advice of experienced counsel is important in understanding who may sue for compensation. The rules differ from personal injury claims, which have fewer restrictions.

Only a spouse, parent or child (biological and adopted) may bring a wrongful death claim in Texas. Siblings and grandparents may not sue for wrongful death in Texas.

If three months have passed after the death, an estate administrator may bring a Survival Action, which is similar to a wrongful death lawsuit. It benefits the heirs and estate of your loved one. 

What Kind of Spousal Relationships Count Under Wrongful Death Law?

When your spouse dies because of negligence, you may bring a claim whether you were traditionally married or had a common law marriage. Texas law recognizes same-sex couples in both traditional marriage and common law marriage; they have equal rights in wrongful death claims.

Couples who live together but don’t hold themselves out as  married may not bring a wrongful death claim.

Money Damages in a Wrongful Death Suit

A wrongful death suit seeks money damages for survivors. Typically, a Fort Worth personal injury attorney will negotiate with insurance companies, showing them proof of the defendant’s negligence and your loved one’s pain and suffering.

When your loved one has died in an accident or been exposed to a dangerous product, they can no longer speak for themselves. Your lawyer can establish the extent of your loved one’s pain and suffering. This may be done through medical records and expert testimony to prove that your loved one was conscious and experienced pain and suffered before their death.

Proving a Wrongful Death Suit

Our goal is to make you whole financially. That means compensation for funeral expenses, medical bills, the income and inheritance your loved one would have provided, and their value as a helpmate.

How your loved one’s death has impacted you matters. You deserve compensation for mental anguish and loss of companionship.

You may feel the system is “quantifying” your loved one’s life. Discussing the details of your loved one’s suffering and your loss can be hard; it takes courage. Yet, this manner of compensation for negligence has proven over many years to bring fair and just results, while providing financial stability for survivors after a tragedy.

The defendant’s version of events shouldn’t go unchallenged. A Fort Worth wrongful death attorney can be a voice for your loved one by presenting proof in a lawsuit and obtaining a favorable financial result for your family. Wrongful death lawsuits pose some unique challenges, but you can pursue your rights under Texas law with the help of experienced counsel.

When you’ve lost a loved one, reach out to Patterson Law Group for a consultation in our Fort Worth location.



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