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How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

October 16, 2018

how to file a wrongful death lawsuitThe loss of a loved one due to a tragic accident is overwhelming. The grief is unimaginable.

You want to hold those responsible for the accident accountable for their actions. But, it is difficult to know what to do or where to start.

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit that can compensate the family for their tragic death. While monetary compensation cannot bring back a loved one, it can help. It helps pay for final expenses and punish those liable for the death.

At Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, our experienced wrongful death attorneys explain how to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It is strongly recommended to file a wrongful death lawsuit with an attorney.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

In most cases, the representative of the estate of the victim will file a wrongful death claim.

However, a spouse can file for wrongful death as well as the parents of a minor child that died. Children can also collect compensation for the wrongful death of their parent.

In New Mexico, a wrongful death claim must be filed by the personal representative of the victim. The damages collected go to the victim’s family members.

In Texas, the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the victim may file a wrongful death claim. The lawsuit may be filed by any single person or as a family group. If this is not done within three months of the death, the personal representative of the estate may file on the victim’s behalf.

How Long Do I Have to File?

Every state has a different deadline for when a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed. This is known as the statute of limitations.

If you wait too long, the court may throw out the lawsuit for a violation of the statute of limitations.

In New Mexico, the statute of limitations on a wrongful death claim is three years from the date of the victim’s death.

In Texas, the loved ones of a victim have only two years from the date of death to file a wrongful death lawsuit with the court.

An experienced personal injury attorney understands the differences in each state’s wrongful death laws. They can help you through each step in the process.

Next Steps in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

After verifying the statute of limitations and if you can file, filing a lawsuit can start.

Typically, this involves filing a petition or complaint with the court. The petition alleges the wrongful death and all facts and evidence supporting the case. At this point, the defendant or defendants in the case have the opportunity to respond. Granted that the petition is filed, the case commences.

Following the petition, the lengthy processes of discovery and negotiate usually follow. However, if a settlement cannot be reached between the two sides, the case will go to court.

Having an experienced personal injury lawyer by your side during a wrongful death case can ensure you are getting the best possible representation for your claims.

Contact Our Office Today

If you have lost a loved one due to an accident and wish to seek a wrongful death lawsuit against those responsible, the attorneys at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway in Texas and New Mexico are here to help.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation regarding your wrongful death case.