Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim?

The loss of a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct is a profound and life-altering experience. In such times, understanding the legal avenues for seeking justice becomes crucial. Wrongful death claims are designed to provide this sense of justice as well as financial relief and compensation for the bereaved. However, not everyone is eligible to file these claims. Below is a list of five groups of people who may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. To better understand your wrongful death claim and receive experienced professional assistance, contact a wrongful death lawyer today.

Immediate Family Members

Immediate family members are often the primary eligible claimants in wrongful death cases. This group typically includes spouses, biological and adopted children, and, in some cases, parents of unmarried children. These individuals are considered the most directly affected by the loss and are therefore prioritized in the eyes of the law.

Life Partners And Financial Dependents

In many jurisdictions, life partners and those who were financially dependent on the deceased may have a right to file a wrongful death claim. This can include domestic partners, putative spouses (individuals who believed in good faith that they were married to the deceased), and anyone who substantially depended on the deceased for financial support, such as a dependent stepchild or a parent. If you fall into this category, contact a lawyer today to determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim.

Other Family Members

While less common, other, more distant family members may also be eligible to file a wrongful death claim, especially in the absence of immediate family members. This group can include siblings, grandparents, and in some cases, aunts and uncles. The eligibility of distant family members often depends on the specific laws of the state where the claim is filed.

Parents Of A Deceased Fetus

The eligibility of parents to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of a deceased fetus varies significantly by jurisdiction. Some states allow parents to file wrongful death claims for a fetus that was viable (capable of living outside the womb) at the time of injury, while others have stricter or more lenient laws regarding fetal death. A lawyer can help parents determine if they have a path forward with a wrongful death claim.

Estate Representatives

In situations where there is no clear eligible family member to file the claim, an estate representative or executor may step forward to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased’s estate. This approach ensures that the beneficiaries of the estate can receive compensation for losses incurred due to the wrongful death. Compensation obtained is then distributed according to the deceased’s will or state law if there is no will.

Seek Guidance From A Qualified Lawyer

As our friends at Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. know, navigating the intricacies of a wrongful death claim requires not just emotional resilience but also legal knowledge and experience. Consulting with a lawyer can provide clarity, ensuring that the claim is filed correctly and by the right individuals. While the eligibility to file a wrongful death claim can vary depending on local laws and the specific circumstances surrounding a death, understanding who can file is the first step toward seeking justice for your loved one. Each case is unique, and securing the services of a knowledgeable and experienced lawyer can make all the difference in navigating this complex legal landscape.