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Who Can File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death

Posted June 13, 2021 in Personal Injury Blog

Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wrongful Death lawyer

When a loved one dies as a result of wrongful death, litigation may be on the horizon. The victim’s survivors deserve compensation, yet there are restrictions on who can file suit. What follows is a quick guide to who may file a wrongful death case and under what circumstances.

State Laws Regarding Suing for Wrongful Death

Each state has its own rules about filing for wrongful death. Depending on where you live, your relation to the deceased may prevent you from serving litigation. Similarly, different areas are subject to fluctuating relief caps, meaning there’s a limit to how much you can be awarded. Contact a lawyer specializing in wrongful deaths to learn about the laws specific to your region.

Survivors Suing for Wrongful Death

Although not in every state, many allow the deceased’s survivors to file for wrongful death. These relatives can include spouses, children, parents, siblings, and other, more distant, family members. In states where suing directly is permissible, there are rules regarding how close the litigant must be to the individual who passed. In Maryland, however, any individual who stands to inherit from the deceased has a right to sue.

Some states give certain family members priority over suing. For example, in Missouri, it is the spouse and children who are the decision-makers. If none of these family members is alive, other relatives, such as siblings, are given the choice. Additionally, there are statutes of limitation that must be observed. The amount of time you have to file depends on your local jurisdiction.

Personal Representatives Suing for Wrongful Death

A representative is necessary for states where you may not sue directly, such as Kentucky, Maine, Indiana, and Illinois. This individual could be an executor, a legal designee in charge of the deceased’s estate. Alternatively, it might be a representative from a company, such as a bank, who’s in control of the late person’s assets. 

Successfully Suing for Wrongful Death

When someone is found guilty of wrongful death, that individual can be ruled responsible for a host of damages, including medical bills and denied income. Additionally, there is the less-concrete matter of pain and suffering, as well as loss of companionship. 

Depending on where you live, there are varying limitations on whether you can sue for wrongful death. Make sure your case meets the correct criteria by hiring a qualified wrongful death lawyer familiar with the topic.

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