In most cases, Texas law limits a wrongful death recovery to the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased. However, if a close relative witnesses the death of a loved one and meets other specific requirements, he or she may be able to recover damages by pursuing a bystander claim.
Could You Have a Texas Bystander Claim?
In order to bring a successful bystander claim and recover damages, you'll need to prove the following three things:
- You're a close relative of the deceased. You don't need to be the parent, child, or spouse as listed in the wrongful death statute. However, you do need to be another type of close relative such as a sibling, grandparent, step-parent, or aunt or uncle who had a close relationship with the person who died.
- You were at or near the incident that caused your loved one’s death. In most cases, you must have witnessed the incident that resulted in his or her demise.
- You suffered significant mental anguish. Because of witnessing the circumstances that led to your loved one’s death, you need to prove emotional pain and suffering. This may include severe and prolonged grief or mental health issues that develop as a result of experiencing the horrible event.
Bystander claims can be complicated and may be rigorously defended. Accordingly, it's important to find out about your rights so you can make an informed decision about what actions to take to protect your rights. To learn more, please contact our experienced personal injury lawyers for a free and confidential initial consultation.