What is the Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations? The Texas Attorneys from our Law Firm Explain
Our Attorney is equipped to work within the framework of the law to bring those who are responsible to justice, in a timely matter. The grieving process is important, too, but there is a limited amount of time that person or family will have to file a wrongful death claim and it is vital to file such a claim as soon as possible after the loss is suffered.
Simply stated, a statute of limitations spells out the period of time during which legal action can be taken. In most wrongful death cases the plaintiffs have a two-year statute of limitations. Essentially, that means that the claim must be resolved within that two-year period from the time of death or a lawsuit must be filed within that two-year period, since filing a lawsuit will extend the deadline further.
One event that affects your chance to recover damages occurred when the Texas legislature passed another round of Tort Reform in the spring of 2011, which became law on September 1 of that same year.
The law also creates a new procedural rule for Texas courts. For the first time, there will be a “motion to dismiss” for meritless claims before parties can go through the often expensive and time-consuming discovery process. Such a rule already exists in federal court. If a judge grants that motion to dismiss, the losing party will have to pay the other’s attorney’s fees.
What this means to your case can be summed up thusly:
If you wait before beginning any personal injury legal process, the clock could begin ticking from the day the accident that caused the fatal injuries to your loved one occurred. So let’s say you wait a year while you and your family arduously debated whether or not to file a wrongful death negligence suit. Then, at the beginning of that second year, you retain an attorney who must immediately begin an investigation: one that will be very complicated because the trail has already grown cold and it ends up moving at a snail’s pace. Then, as the date in which your statute of limitations runs out, there are still vital details that remain unknown or still undiscovered. This forces us to quickly file a lawsuit based on incomplete evidence, just to get your case heard, even if it’s weak.
Your opponents can ask the court to file a summary judgment based on our still-incomplete discovery process. Then the court reviews the evidence collected so far and rules that the suit has “no merit on its face” and dismisses (but without prejudice, which means if new evidence comes in you can re-file). But that option becomes moot shortly thereafter since the statute of limitations runs out. Even if you come up with “smoking gun” evidence a day after it expires, you cannot re-file PLUS, you (and we) are forced to pay any legal expenses of the defendants for their time and effort in fighting the weak case we were forced to file.
There are other aspects of the most recent rounds of tort reform that could also affect your case should you delay your decision to request wrongful death (or other personal injury damage relief) through a civil suit. Our injury attorneys can explain them to you. But the bottom line is this: if you wait to make up your mind, your mind will be made up for you. And that’s never good.
Put our experience to work for you, today! If you want to know what your rights are, and how Texas Statute of Limitations laws affect you and your surviving family members after the accidental death of a loved one, even if the events or time-frame for filing your lawsuit are unclear, we can help you understand the best way to proceed with your claim, how much compensation you can reasonably expect to secure, and the right time to spring into action against the negligent defendants and their well-funded insurers and attorneys.
We can answer every one of your questions and share the likely strategy to produce the rightful compensation you have a right to claim, in addition to “hanging back” and waiting for the right moment. In the words of Sun Tsu, “Make no battle until the outcome is foregone and favorable.” Because sometimes, waiting and preparing is the best strategy.
Contact our wrongful death attorneys at our Texas Law Firm now at 1(800) 862-1260 (toll-free) for a free consultation and find out how we can help you and your family during your time of grief and doubt.