Wrongful Death Lawsuits: Are You Eligible To File?

Law Blog

When it comes to pursuing a wrongful death claim, there are only certain people who are eligible to do so. If you're wondering whether or not you qualify to file a wrongful death suit, it's important that you understand the typical eligibility requirements. Here's a look at what you should know about whether or not you could be eligible to file for wrongful death on behalf of the deceased.

Close Relatives Qualify

Immediate family members of the deceased are usually legally eligible to file a wrongful death suit against a liable party. If the deceased was married and has a surviving spouse, that spouse legally is eligible to file. If the couple had children and the deceased's spouse is no longer living, those children may legally be eligible to file a claim provided that they are adults.

If the deceased had no spouse and minor children, the deceased's parents may be eligible to file a claim on their behalf. Similarly, if the deceased was unmarried with no children, their parents may be able to file a wrongful death claim in that instance as well.

Estate Executors Qualify 

Sometimes, there are no immediate family members to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased. In those situations, if a more distant family member or a close friend believes that there's evidence of wrongful death, they would need to discuss the situation with the executor of the estate. The executor may be able to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate, with any settlement being used initially to settle any debts for the estate, then to be distributed as the deceased requested for general wealth distribution in their will.

Those With Measured Loss Qualify

While the legal terminology permits immediate family or estate executors to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased person, those individuals do not qualify to file such a claim unless they can show that they suffered a loss as a result of the death. The executor of the estate must be able to show that there were lost wages and similar income that would benefit the estate. Your attorney can help you prove loss.

The more you understand about wrongful death suits and how they are filed, the easier it is to determine if you may be eligible to file one. Talk with a wrongful death attorney near you today for more information and to find out if you have an eligible case. A wrongful death attorney can provide additional information.


9 December 2020