Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

You know a terrible accident happened, and one of your loved ones passed away. But because of a mistake or preventable disaster, you and your family are now left with a wrongful death case.

Complex litigation that you have no experience with. How do you begin the process of filing a wrongful death claim?

It’s possible you have no idea what to do next. It’s okay. You aren’t alone. Not everyone knows the next steps when they find themselves in this position.

Here’s what you need to know about who can file a claim so you can move things forward.

Immediate Family Members

When a close family member dies because of someone else’s carelessness or wrongdoing, they can file a claim for “wrongful death.” This includes spouses, registered domestic partners, children, and parents. Other individuals who were dependent on the deceased may also file a claim.

It may include the following:

  • funeral and burial expenses
  • medical expenses
  • lost wages, benefits
  • pain and suffering
  • other damages

Its goal is to make up for what the family would have had if the person had not died, like love, protection, financial support, and company.

All immediate family members, regardless of residency, may bring a wrongful death action in the state where the death occurred alongside a personal injury lawyer. The surviving family can decide who will bring the claim.

Adoptive Parents

Adoptive parents have the right to file a claim in certain circumstances. Generally, this happens when their adopted child is killed due to the negligent or intentional acts of another party.

To be able to file a claim, the adoptive parents must be able to prove that they were the legal guardians of the person who died. This can be done by showing evidence of the final adoption decree and other legal documents to prove guardianship.

In circumstances of wrongful death due to product liability or medical misconduct, they may be able to pursue a claim. This is even though they did not have legal guardianship.

Generally, the adoptive parents must first prove their legal guardianship of their adopted child. This is to be eligible to file a claim.

An Executor or Personal Representative

An executor or personal representative is an individual or entity appointed by the court to administer a deceased person’s estate. This individual or entity is responsible for managing the deceased’s assets and paying off debts and taxes.

If a person dies due to the negligent actions of another person or entity, the executor or personal representative of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim for the deceased’s estate. 

It is important for the executor or personal representative to be aware of the applicable state and federal laws associated with claims prior to filing.

Know About Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim

A wrongful death claim needs to be handled by an experienced attorney who can navigate the complexities of the legal system. If your loved one has died due to another person’s carelessness or negligence, contact a knowledgeable wrongful death attorney now to discuss your legal options.

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