Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Did Your Loved One Die Due to the Negligence of Someone Else?

nullIf a loved one dies, it is of course a traumatic event in your life. However, when they pass away due to the negligence of another person or company, it can be an even more distressing experience for you and your family. When these situations occur, families should hold those who were responsible for their loved one’s untimely death accountable for their actions. To do so, states allow loved ones to take legal action in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit. A civil case, the goal of filing such a lawsuit is to allow loved ones left behind to recover monetary damages from those held responsible for the person’s death. However, since not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a deceased individual, you should always speak to an personal injury attorney Newport Beach families trust for expert guidance in these matters.

Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Always complex even when it is clear another person, company, or entity was negligent or careless and contributed to the person’s death, wrongful death lawsuits differ from state to state as to who can file such a lawsuit. In all states, immediate family members are allowed to file such a lawsuit. If the decedent was married, their spouse is often the person who files a wrongful death lawsuit. Should you have any questions as to whether or not you are considered eligible to file a lawsuit, contact a wrongful death attorney Newport Beach residents know will fight hard for them and their families.

Other Family Members
In other situations, other family members may be the ones initiating a wrongful death lawsuit. For example, if the person who died was an adult, an adult child may be the one pursuing legal action. In situations where the person who died was a minor child, parents may initiate the lawsuit. As for single adults who die, most states will allow distant family members such as grandparents, aunts and uncles, or even siblings to file a wrongful death lawsuit in an attempt to gain financial compensation. If you believe questions could arise regarding your potential wrongful death lawsuit after a loved one was killed in an accident, consult with a personal injury attorney who possesses experience in such cases.

What About Domestic Partnerships?
In situations involving domestic partnerships or civil unions, the surviving partner may be allowed to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their deceased partner. However, these cases can get very complex and confusing quickly, since other family members of the deceased may claim they should be the ones able to recover financial compensation for the loss of their loved one. 

As a result, much litigation often goes on among family members and the surviving partner long before a wrongful death lawsuit ever makes its way to court. Therefore, if you are planning on pursuing a wrongful death case that could involve similar circumstances, always speak to a knowledgeable attorney to understand your legal options as well as the obstacles you could face along the way.

What if There was a Will?
If the person who died left behind a last will and testament prior to their death, this can be a determining factor in who is allowed to pursue a wrongful death suit. If the person who died did indeed have a will, the court will then appoint an executor to administer the estate. When this happens, the executor or personal representative appointed by the court then has the sole authority to bring a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the decedent. Unfortunately, even when a will is left behind, it is likely some family members may contest the will and an executor’s right to pursue legal action in the form of a wrongful death lawsuit. If you are facing these circumstances and need answers to your questions, meet as soon as possible with an injury attorney that Newport Beach families turn to for help in solving these legal problems.

Is There a Statute of Limitations?
As with virtually all types of lawsuits, a statute of limitations usually exists for filing wrongful death lawsuits. While no state has a statute of limitations of less than one year for filing wrongful death lawsuits, most allow family members or others two or three years to file such a lawsuit. In most cases, the countdown on the statute of limitations begins from the date of the decedent’s death. However, if an employee of the government or the government itself is being blamed for the person’s death, you may need to file what is known as a “notice of claim” with the government, which informs them of your intentions to pursue litigation and allows them time to respond to your allegations. If you are required to do this, you usually have only 90 days. Therefore, speak to a wrongful death lawsuit attorney that Newport Beach families trust as quickly as possible.

What if I Wait Too Long to File a Lawsuit?
If you think the courts will feel sympathetic to you should you wait too long to file your wrongful death lawsuit, think again. In virtually all cases, should you file your wrongful death lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, your case will not be heard by the court. To make matters worse, you have likely lost any chance you would have had to gain financial compensation for your loved one’s death due to the negligence of others. 

Rather than let your wrongful death claim expire and have those who were negligent and careless walk away without being held accountable for their actions, hire the best personal injury and wrongful death attorney to represent you and your family.

If a loved one was killed in an accident and you believe it was due to the negligence of other people, a company, or even the government, do not hesitate to file a wrongful death lawsuit. To learn what will be involved, schedule a consultation today with the experienced personal injury law firm of Accident Lawyers Firm in Newport Beach.