Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits allow the people affected by a fatal accident to recover damages. When a person is killed because of another person’s negligence, all of the deceased individual’s friends and family members are impacted. However, only certain people are able to file wrongful death lawsuits. Wrongful death claimants generally include people who are directly, financially affected by the death.
Spouses and Children
The spouse of the deceased is typically considered as the primary person who is able to sue for wrongful death. If the victim is married, their spouse will incur significant damages, in most cases. If the victim’s children are under the age of 18 at the time of the wrongful death, their spouse will handle any claims related to the children as well. Children over the age of 18 may be able to file their own claim, but spouses generally take prominence in wrongful death cases.
Parents of the Deceased
If a wrongful death victim was not married or did not have adult children at the time of their death, their parents can file a claim. Wrongful death claims filed by parents may involve instances of younger victims but can be filed in any case that the victim did not have dependents (e.g. a spouse or children).
An Estate Representative
Wrongful death claims can also be filed by a representative of the victim’s estate. Lawsuits filed by an estate representative are often reserved for cases in which a family member is not able to file a claim, but there can be exceptions depending on the terms of the deceased person’s will. The estate representative will not collect damages from the case. Rather, they will transfer compensation to the victim’s family members or manage the funds for the victim’s next of kin. The collection of funds will vary depending on the will terms, or other legal factors if the victim did not have a will at the time of their death.
The attorneys of Whiteman, Hamilton & Conklin, LLC can assist your family in the pursuit of a wrongful death claim. We can help you understand your rights following the death of a loved one and help you recover the compensation you deserve.