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Who could start a wrongful death case?

Spouses, parents and children of someone who suffered an untimely death may have the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. If you found yourself in the unfortunate position of losing a close family member, it could be possible for you to bring suit against the responsible party.

You may feel that the law is fairly restrictive when it comes to who may file a wrongful death suit, as it does not allow for siblings or other relatives to pursue action. As discussed on FindLaw, the category of eligible parties in other states is sometimes more liberal. However, you may still be eligible to file if you meet certain qualifications under Texas law.

The first major exception is for personal representatives and executors of estates. These people could have the right to file a lawsuit if two conditions exist:

  • The parents, children and spouses of the decedent did not file a suit
  • The absence of a request to abstain from wrongful death lawsuits by someone eligible to file

It is in this way that you could potentially gain the power to claim damages. In short, to sue for the wrongful death of a loved one, such as a domestic partner, sibling or extended relative, you would probably have to be the executor of that person's estate or that person's personal legal representative.

The next exception, for adopted children or parents, would probably not surprise you: Adoptive parents have essentially the same legal rights in Texas as any other parents. However, it could be worth noting that the biological children or parents related to the adoptive relationship would probably not automatically have the right to bring a wrongful death case.

Wrongful death cases are a tragic and unfortunately complicated aspect of the law. Therefore, please do not take this as legal advice. It is only meant to form a general background.

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