Each state in the country is very specific about who is allowed to file a wrongful death claim after losing someone due to the negligent actions of another individual or entity. Texas also directly specifies who can file these lawsuits in civil court. Here, we want to review whether or not siblings are allowed to file wrongful death claims in the state of Texas.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim in Texas?
Texas law is very clear that the only individuals allowed to file a wrongful death claim in Texas include the deceased individual’s surviving spouse, children, or parents (Tex. Civ. Prac. & Rem. Code §§ 71.001 to 71.003 (2021). Additionally, one or more of those individuals is allowed to file a claim on behalf of all of them.
These individuals are allowed to recover compensation for the full value of the life lost. This can include, but is not limited to:
Lost earning capacity of the deceased
Mental pain and anguish experienced by survivors
Compensation for lost companionship, love, and society
Lost inheritance the deceased would have provided and left their family members had they lived
Loss of household services, maintenance, support, counsel, and advice the deceased would have provided
In the event the surviving spouse, children, or parents do not want to file a wrongful death claim within three months after the death occurs, the personal representative or executor of the deceased’s estate is allowed to file the claim instead (unless all of the individuals eligible to file the wrongful death claim specifically request that there be no wrongful death claim filed).
Under Texas law, siblings are not allowed to file wrongful death claims directly. However, if a sibling acts as the personal representative of the estate, then they may end up being the one who filed the wrongful death claim. However, that does not mean that the sibling will be the one to receive the compensation if the wrongful death claim is successful. Wrongful death compensation in Texas is designed to award the surviving spouse, children, or parents compensation for the losses stemming from the death.
If the sibling is the personal representative of the estate, they are acting on behalf of the estate and not out of their own personal interests. Additionally, any other members of the estate or individuals named in the deceased’s will are also prohibited from filing a wrongful death claim.
Will You Need an Attorney?
If you have lost a loved one due to the careless or negligent actions of another individual in the state of Texas, you need to reach out to a skilled attorney as soon as possible. A Houston wrongful death lawyer can offer a free consultation and help guide you toward the best possible path of recovering compensation. If you have any questions about who can file the wrongful death claim on behalf of your loved one, an attorney can help answer that.
Wrongful death claims are notoriously difficult to navigate, and those without legal assistance will struggle. We strongly encourage individuals to reach out to an attorney who can handle the investigation, all negotiations, and any trial that becomes necessary as a result of the claim.