How Long Do I Have to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Texas?

In most cases, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas up to two years from the date of the death.

Statute of Limitations Laws in Texas

If you have been harmed in Texas, certain laws set out a window of time for you to file a lawsuit for your harm. This kind of law is known as a statute of limitation.

There are different windows for different types of lawsuits.

The Texas Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death is Usually Two Years

Under the Texas wrongful death statute, you have two years after the date of the death to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

If you file a lawsuit after that period, your lawsuit will be barred (blocked). The Court will usually refuse to hear the case, even if the facts and law support your claim.

However, there are a few exceptions:

Plaintiff is a Minor

The person filing the wrongful death lawsuit is called the plaintiff. Plaintiffs who are minor children are permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit after the statute of limitation period.

Negligence was Unknown

The person or company being sued is called the defendant. If the death was caused by the defendant’s negligence (the legal term for carelessness), the defendant has to pay compensation to the parents, children and spouses of the deceased person.

But sometimes the plaintiff did not know about the defendant’s carelessness. For example, many industrial workers were exposed to asbestos. They only found out years later that the factories had been careless in allowing them to be exposed. If such a worker died, the worker’s spouse and children might be able to file a lawsuit more than two years after the worker died.

Mental or Physical Impairment

A plaintiff who was unable to file a lawsuit within the 2-year window because of an injury might be able to file the lawsuit after.

There have been cases in which a drunk driver hits another car, killing one spouse and leaving the other in a coma. The living spouse is not expected to file a wrongful death lawsuit while in the coma. That spouse could probably file a wrongful death lawsuit after regaining consciousness, even more than two years after the death.


Imagine the defendant tricked the plaintiff into not filing a lawsuit. Perhaps a company forged documents showing that they passed safety tests.

If the truth about the company’s deception became known, the plaintiff would probably be permitted to file a wrongful death lawsuit in Texas. The two year statute of limitations would not bar the lawsuit.

Most wrongful death lawsuits will be barred (blocked) after the statute of limitations has expired. This is true even if the facts and law are on your side.

No amount of money can replace a loved one. But if you have medical bills and debts left after a wrongful death, you may be entitled to compensation. Speak to an Texas personal injury attorney that can hear your story, and advise you of your rights.