Wrongful Death Statute

Wrongful Death Statute

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Sec. 71.001. DEFINITIONS. In this subchapter:

(1) “Corporation” means a municipal, private, public, or quasi-public corporation other than a county or a common or independent school district.

(2) “Person” means an individual, association of individuals, joint-stock company, or corporation or a trustee or receiver of an individual, association of individuals, joint-stock company, or corporation.

(3) “Death” includes, for an individual who is an unborn child, the failure to be born alive.

(4) “Individual” includes an unborn child at every stage of gestation from fertilization until birth.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 822, Sec. 1.01, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 71.002. CAUSE OF ACTION. (a) An action for actual damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death may be brought if liability exists under this section.

(b) A person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.

(c) A person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if:

(1) the person is a proprietor, owner, charterer, or hirer of an industrial or public utility plant or of a railroad, street railway, steamboat, stagecoach, or other vehicle for the transportation of goods or passengers; and

(2) the injury was caused by the person’s or his agent’s or servant’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default.

(d) A person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if:

(1) the person is a receiver, trustee, or other person in charge of or in control of a railroad, street railway, steamboat, stagecoach, or other vehicle for the transportation of goods or passengers, of an industrial or public utility plant, or of other machinery; and

(2) the injury was caused by:

(A) the person’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unskillfulness, or default;

(B) the person’s servant’s or agent’s wrongful act, neglect, carelessness, unfitness, unskillfulness, or default; or

(C) a bad or unsafe condition of the railroad, street railway, or other machinery under the person’s control or operation.

(e) A person is liable for damages arising from an injury that causes an individual’s death if:

(1) the person is a receiver, trustee, or other person in charge of or in control of a railroad, street railway, steamboat, stagecoach, or other vehicle for the transportation of goods or passengers, of an industrial or public utility plant, or of other machinery; and

(2) the action could have been brought against the owner of the railroad, street railway, or other machinery if he had been acting as operator.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 71.003. APPLICATION; CERTAIN CONDUCT EXCEPTED. (a) This subchapter applies only if the individual injured would have been entitled to bring an action for the injury if the individual had lived or had been born alive.

(b) This subchapter applies whether the injury occurs inside or outside this state.

(c) This subchapter does not apply to a claim for the death of an individual who is an unborn child that is brought against:

(1) the mother of the unborn child;

(2) a physician or other licensed health care provider, if the death is the intended result of a lawful medical procedure performed by the physician or health care provider with the requisite consent;

(3) a person who dispenses or administers a drug in accordance with law, if the death is the result of the dispensation or administration of the drug; or

(4) a physician or other health care provider licensed in this state, if the death directly or indirectly is caused by, associated with, arises out of, or relates to a lawful medical or health care practice or procedure of the physician or the health care provider.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985. Amended by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 822, Sec. 1.02, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 71.004. BENEFITTING FROM AND BRINGING ACTION. (a) An action to recover damages as provided by this subchapter is for the exclusive benefit of the surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased.

(b) The surviving spouse, children, and parents of the deceased may bring the action or one or more of those individuals may bring the action for the benefit of all.

(c) If none of the individuals entitled to bring an action have begun the action within three calendar months after the death of the injured individual, his executor or administrator shall bring and prosecute the action unless requested not to by all those individuals.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 71.005. EVIDENCE RELATING TO MARITAL STATUS. In an action under this subchapter, evidence of the actual ceremonial remarriage of the surviving spouse is admissible, if it is true, but the defense is prohibited from directly or indirectly mentioning or alluding to a common-law marriage, an extramarital relationship, or the marital prospects of the surviving spouse.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 71.0055. EVIDENCE OF PREGNANCY. In an action under this subchapter for the death of an individual who is an unborn child, the plaintiff shall provide medical or other evidence that the mother of the individual was pregnant at the time of the individual’s death.

Added by Acts 2003, 78th Leg., ch. 822, Sec. 1.03, eff. Sept. 1, 2003.

Sec. 71.006. EFFECT OF FELONIOUS ACT. An action under this subchapter is not precluded because the death is caused by a felonious act or because there may be a criminal proceeding in relation to the felony.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 71.007. INEFFECTIVE AGREEMENT. An agreement between the owner of a railroad, street railway, steamboat, stagecoach, or other vehicle for the transportation of goods or passengers, of an industrial or public utility plant, or of other machinery and an individual, corporation, trustee, receiver, lessee, joint-stock association, or other entity in control of or operating the vehicle, plant, or other machinery does not release the owner or the entity controlling or operating the vehicle, plant, or other machinery from liability provided by this subchapter.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 71.008. DEATH OF DEFENDANT. (a) If a defendant dies while an action under this subchapter is pending or if the individual against whom the action may have been instituted dies before the action is begun, the executor or administrator of the estate may be made a defendant, and the action may be prosecuted as though the defendant or individual were alive.

(b) A judgment in favor of the plaintiff shall be paid in due course of administration.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 71.009. EXEMPLARY DAMAGES. When the death is caused by the wilful act or omission or gross negligence of the defendant, exemplary as well as actual damages may be recovered.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 71.010. AWARD AND APPORTIONMENT OF DAMAGES. (a) The jury may award damages in an amount proportionate to the injury resulting from the death.

(b) The damages awarded shall be divided, in shares as found by the jury in its verdict, among the individuals who are entitled to recover and who are alive at that time.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 71.011. DAMAGES NOT SUBJECT TO DEBTS. Damages recovered in an action under this subchapter are not subject to the debts of the deceased.

Acts 1985, 69th Leg., ch. 959, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1985.

Sec. 71.012. QUALIFICATION OF FOREIGN PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE. If the executor or administrator of the estate of a nonresident individual is the plaintiff in an action under this subchapter, the foreign personal representative of the estate who has complied with the requirements of Chapter 503, Estates Code, for the probate of a foreign will is not required to apply for ancillary letters testamentary under Section 501.006, Estates Code, to bring and prosecute the action.

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Attorney Reshard AlexanderBig Rig Bull Texas Truck Accident Lawyer represents clients in all Texas counties, including: Harris County, Montgomery County, Fort Bend County, Brazoria County, Galveston County, Chambers County, Liberty County, Jefferson County, Grimes County, and Waller County; and all Texas cities, including: Houston, Aldine, Algoa, Alief, Alvin, Anahuac, Angleton, Atascocita, Bay City, Bayou Vista, Baytown, Bellaire, Brazoria, Brenham, Brookshire, Bryan, Cedar Creek, Waller County, Channelview, China TX, Clear Lake City, Cleveland TX, Clute, Columbus, College Station, Conroe, Crosby, Cypress, Dayton, Deer Park, Dickinson, Eagle Lake, East Bernard, Edna, El Campo, Elmgrove, Flatonia, Freeport, Fresno, Friendswood, Fulshear, Galena Park, Galveston, Ganada, Garden Villas, Hardin, Hempstead, Hillcrest, Hitchcock, Houston, Humble, Huntsville, Inez, Jacinto City, Jamaica Beach, Jersey Village, Katy, Kemah, Kingwood, La Marque, La Porte, La Salle, Lake Jackson, League City, Liberty TX, Liverpool, Livingston, Long Point, Louise, Longpoint, Lufkin, Magnolia, Meadows Place, Missouri City, Montgomery, Morgans Point, Moss Hill, Nacogdoches, Navasota, Nassau Bay, Needville, Pasadena TX, Pasdena, Pearland, Port Bolivar, Porter, Prairie View, Richmond, Rosenberg, Rosharon, San Leon, Seabrook, Schulenburg, Sealy, Shenandoah, Shoreacres, Southside Place, Spring, Spring Branch Stafford, Sugar Land, Sunny Side, Texas City, The Woodlands, Todd Mission, Tomball, Waller, Webster, West Columbia, Wharton, Willis, Winnie, and Woodlands.