Can a Family Sue for Wrongful Death?
By Chris Dixon
When a person dies, the surviving family members of the deceased are often eligible to file a wrongful death claim to recover compensation for the victim’s harm and losses. Most wrongful death claims are settled outside of court, but some cases wind up going to trial. If you have recently lost a family member in an accident and are unsure how to proceed with your case, consulting an experienced lawyer can steer you in the right direction. A wrongful death lawyer can help your family file a claim against the responsible party, sue for wrongful death, and ensure that you and your family are taken care of during this difficult time.
Who is Eligible to Sue for Wrongful Death?
States in the U.S. vary in regards to who is eligible to sue for wrongful death when someone dies and how funds are distributed.
In most states, the spouse and children of the deceased are able to recover damages for their family member’s death, but beyond this, it can be unclear as to which other immediate family member’s are eligible to sue for wrongful death. While it varies from state to state, examples of family members that could be eligible to sue for wrongful death include:
- Domestic Partners
- Designated Heirs
Suing for wrongful death shouldn’t be confused with the deceased’s trust and estate. A wrongful death suit is filed to recover compensation for medical expenses, lost income, pain and suffering, and other damages that a victim and their family experienced because of the unexpected accident. It’s important to keep in mind that only immediate family members are able to sue for wrongful death, and rules regarding this vary from state to state, but with a wrongful death lawyer by your side this process is simplified and easier to understand.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
In order for a family to sue for wrongful death, the following elements need to be present:
- Proof of death
- Evidence of the other party’s negligence
- Proof that surviving family member’s are experiencing a loss of income or other harm because of the death
- If medical malpractice is suspected – proof of a doctor-patient relationship
- In product liability cases – proof of purchase and hazardous substances or products
What Damages Can I Recover for a Family Member’s Wrongful Death?
In most states, when someone is responsible for another’s death, they are responsible for present and future damages that the victim and their family experienced. Typically, suing for wrongful death can recover compensation for medical expenses, property damage, lost wages, pain and suffering, loss of affection, and other damages caused by the accident. An experienced wrongful death attorney can assist you with gathering evidence, filing a claim, and negotiating with the other party’s insurance company for the highest settlement.
Consult a Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If a family member has died, you could be entitled to recover damages caused by another person’s negligence. Losing someone you are close to can be emotionally, mentally, and physically trying, but hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer to represent your case can alleviate some of the pain and stress of the situation. If you are ready to sue the person responsible for your family member’s unexpected death, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to discuss your case.
How Long Does It Take to Settle a Wrongful Death Suit?
How Do You Calculate a Wrongful Death Settlement?