Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

man setting flower on gravestone

Losing a loved one due to someone else's negligence or intentional actions is an incredibly painful experience. In such cases, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can provide some measure of justice and compensation for the surviving family members. However, understanding who can file such a lawsuit and the legal intricacies involved can be daunting. In this blog, Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C. will provide you with a comprehensive guide on who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, the eligibility criteria, and the steps involved in pursuing legal action.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

1. Immediate Family Members:

Immediate family members, such as spouses, children, and parents, are typically eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. They are considered the primary beneficiaries and are directly affected by the loss.

2. Distant Family Members:

In some cases, if there are no immediate family members available or willing to file a lawsuit, distant family members, such as siblings or grandparents, may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. However, the eligibility criteria may vary depending on the jurisdiction.

3. Life Partners and Financial Dependents:

In certain states, life partners or individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased may be allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, proving the nature of the relationship and financial dependence may require substantial evidence.

4. Legal Representatives:

If the deceased had a will or estate plan, the designated executor or personal representative may have the authority to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the estate. In such cases, any damages awarded are typically distributed among the beneficiaries as per the will or state laws.

5. Minors:

In cases where the deceased is a minor, their parents or legal guardians can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, the laws regarding minors' involvement in legal proceedings may vary, and it is essential to consult with an experienced attorney.

Steps to Pursue a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

1. Consult with an Attorney:

Seeking legal counsel is crucial to navigate the complex legal process. An experienced wrongful death attorney can guide you through the necessary steps and work to protect your rights.

2. Gather Evidence:

Collecting evidence that establishes negligence or intentional harm is vital. This may include police reports, medical records, witness statements, and expert opinions.

3. Determine Damages:

Calculating the economic and non-economic damages resulting from the loss is essential. These may include medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, emotional distress, and loss of companionship.

4. File the Lawsuit:

Your attorney will prepare and file the necessary legal documents within the specified time limits. They will ensure all the required information is included to strengthen your case.

5. Negotiate or Litigate:

Depending on the circumstances, your attorney will either negotiate a settlement with the responsible party or proceed to trial. They will represent your interests and fight for fair compensation.

Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C. Is Here In Your Time of Need

Bottom line: losing a loved one is an overwhelming experience, and seeking justice through a wrongful death lawsuit can be challenging. Understanding who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and the steps involved is crucial for navigating this complex legal process. If you find yourself in such a situation, it is essential to consult with a reputable wrongful death attorney who can provide guidance and support throughout the journey.

At Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C., we proudly represent clients in wrongful death cases and are dedicated to helping families seek the justice they deserve. Although nothing can bring a loved one back, our goal is to offer some much needed peace of mind in your time of need. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about your legal options.

Call Doran & Cawthorne, P.L.L.C. for a free consultation at (337) 222-3526. You can also request an appointment online