Wrongful death claims are brought on when someone is killed due to the negligence of another party or an intentional act. They allow for the estate of the deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death. Wrongful death claims are often filed by a representative of the estate, on behalf of surviving family member and others affected parties. The victim’s family can seek monetary damages for funeral and burial expenses, medical expenses, pain and suffering, and loss of wages and future earning capacity.
As with many cases, it is dependent on which state you are in. In all states, spouses may bring a wrongful death action on behalf of his or her deceased spouse. Parents of minors and minors of a deceased parent may also bring a wrongful death action.
What about parents of adult children or adult children of a deceased parent? What about extended relatives (cousins, aunts, uncles, etc.)? Generally, the more distant the relationship, the harder it will be to collect damages for a deceased relative. However, often, anyone who can show financial dependence on the deceased will be entitled to a wrongful death claim.
If the deceased dies with a will, a court will usually appoint an executor or personal representative to administer the estate. In most states, the executor or personal representative has the sole right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the descendent(s).
View laws regarding wrongful death settlement distribution by state here.
The laws involved in wrongful death lawsuits are complicated and vary in each state. During your grieving period, consideration of a wrongful death lawsuit may not seem urgent. However, wrongful death cases must be filed within a specific time period. If not, you risk losing your right to financial compensation. Contact the experienced, wrongful death lawyers at the Cochran Firm today!