Who are eligible for filing a wrongful death claim?
Nolo defines wrongful death claim as when an individual is killed because of someone else’s fault—may it be unintentional or of mere negligence and recklessness. A wrongful death claim may allege a person or an entity (like an institution or a product manufacturer) and seek compensation for the loss of family members or loved ones of the deceased. According to Nolo, the compensation tackled in a lawsuit is usually a replacement for the lost wages of the deceased and expenses in the funeral service. Basically, the compensation discussed in the lawsuit will be any form of compensation sufficing the family that will have been provided by the victim, had he/she not died.
According to the personal injury legal team at Crowe & Mulvey, LLP, the most common causes of wrongful death are vehicular accidents, construction site accidents, unsafe premises, unsafe products, and medical malpractice. All these sources of accidents have birthed thousands of lawsuits before, although there are many other causes of wrongful death.
Aside from immediate family members (spouses, children, adopted children), there are other people who may file a wrongful death claim. A domestic or life partner may file the lawsuit, as well as financial dependents and putative spouses (an individual who believes that he/she was married to the deceased). Distant family members such as siblings, aunts, and grandparents also have a right of recovery and compensation. Other people who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim are people who suffer financially after the victim was killed even when they are not related, although it is only allowed in some states. Some states also allow the parents of a dead fetus to file a lawsuit, but in some others, a financial and emotional recovery is not possible.
The laws covered by wrongful death claims differ in each state, so if you find yourself in a similar situation, it may be best to keep in touch with a personal injury lawyer to advance your knowledge of the case.