Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit on Behalf of Your Loved One
Experiencing the death of a loved one can have devastating effects. If that individual died in a situation that could have been avoided, it complicates the problem and exacerbates the pain. In many of these situations, a surviving loved one can file a wrongful death lawsuit to be financially compensated for the losses experienced. While this won’t fix any of the emotional issues you’re dealing with, it will help you pay for the bills and other expenses associated with the death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
There are two systems that most states follow when it comes to statutes that limit who can file for wrongful death. The first is the Lord Campbell System. Statutes based on this act state that only certain people can recover for wrongful death. These people are typically determined by their relationship to the deceased and are split into classes or designations. The right to sue is exclusive to one class. If there are no surviving family members in that class, the right passes to individuals in the next class and so on until there is nobody left. In that case, a claim for wrongful death cannot be brought. Classes or designated groups could include:
- Immediate family members such as children, adopted children, a spouse and parents if the deceased is unmarried
- Other family members such as grandparents or siblings
- Life partners or domestic partners
- Anyone who suffered financially after the death, including financial dependents
Another system is called the Loss-To-Estate System. If an individual dies in a state that uses this system, the wrongful death case can only be brought by the estate of the deceased. Most estates have a personal representative assigned to them by a probate court. That representative would be responsible for bringing the lawsuit. Any money recovered from the lawsuit would be put straight into the estate and disbursed to beneficiaries as designated.
How Do I Get Started?
The first thing you should do when you decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit is to get with a lawyer so your questions can be answered. It’s possible you can’t actually file the lawsuit, so you’ll need to work with the appropriate family member to get the job done. Your loved one deserves justice, and sometimes a lawsuit is the only way to feel that. Contact a wrongful death attorney today, such as a wrongful death lawyer from Unidos Legales, to go over your case and to get started with a lawsuit.