Wrongful Death Attorney
A wrongful death claim is brought against another party when that party allegedly caused someone’s death due to negligence, malpractice or an intentional action. These types of claims let the beneficiaries get financial compensation from the responsible party. Although no amount of money ever makes up for a death, it can certainly ensure the future for the family of the deceased. The family of the deceased may have many people who are affected by the death. Who brings the lawsuit on behalf of the family?
Who Files a Lawsuit?
State laws vary, but in most cases, a personal representative of the estate brings the lawsuit against the negligent party. State laws determine which parties can bring a case. The spouse of the deceased generally has the first right to bring a wrongful death case. If there is no spouse, then the children of the deceased would sue. If the children are minors, they might need an adult representative, but they can still collect if they win their case. Sometimes, parents can sue for the wrongful death of their children. Things get a little more complicated as the relationships get more distant. Generally, the people who sue must be financially dependent on the deceased. Adult children may not be able to sue for the wrongful death of their parents. Extended family, such as siblings or aunts and uncles, may or may not be able to sue. It depends on many factors, including state law and the elements of the situation. Sometimes, the romantic partner may have a claim.
Does a Wrongful Death Claim Exist?
Bringing a wrongful death claim isn’t cut and dried. The plaintiffs, the ones bringing the lawsuit, must prove the same elements of a personal injury claim if the person had lived. You must show that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care. Next, you much show that the defendant breached that duty. Then, you must further show that the breach was the cause of death. Finally, you must show that the death caused damages.
What Are the Types of Wrongful Death Claims?
Not every accident is a wrongful death claim. Typically, wrongful death claims are similar to personal injury claims except the person died. Medical malpractice, intentional deaths and car accident fatalities are all types of wrongful death claims. The one exception to wrongful death claims are those that occur for work injuries. In that case, the lawsuit should be handled through workers’ compensation.