Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit? Find You if You Are Eligible
One of the hardest things you may ever have to face in life is the death of a close family member due to the negligence or ill intentions of another party. Sometimes, their passing can be hard enough, but then you may also have to deal with the prospect of paying for the costs related to their death. If an individual or company is to blame for the loss of your close family member, you may be eligible to file a wrongful death suit. Read on to find out what eligibility for a wrongful death claim can look like.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
Exactly who can file a wrongful death suit can depend on which part of the country you are in. California state laws dictate that surviving family members can film a claim for an act of negligence, such as a drunk driving accident or murder. However, it is not as clear-cut as that. A surviving spouse, domestic partner, or child can file a suit. If there are no surviving descendants, those who would be entitled to the property of the deceased may be eligible to file the claim.
Wrongful Death Filing Systems
State laws differ when it comes to determining who can file a wrongful death suit. Some states use the Lord Campbell Act, while others use the Loss-to-Estate system.
The Lord Campbell Act allows a designated beneficiary to bring about a wrongful death claim. These designated beneficiaries could be immediate family members, distant family members, domestic or life partners, and financial dependents.
In contrast, the Loss-to-Estate system means only the deceased’s estate can file a wrongful death claim. In most situations, someone appointed by a probate court to administer the assets of the deceased is the one to file the claim. The suit would be filed under that person’s name, but the settlement figure would be held in a trust for all designated beneficiaries.
What Must You Prove In a Wrongful Death Suit?
After a relative has filed a claim on behalf of the deceased, they must be able to prove some or all of these factors:
- The person died
- Negligence or intent to cause harm resulted in their death
- Family members are suffering financially from their loss
- A personal representative for the deceased’s estate has been appointed
How Do You File a Wrongful Death Suit?
If you believe that you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim based on those factors above, it can be worth contacting a wrongful death attorney. They can listen to your story and determine your eligibility before helping you work through the steps to file the claim. This process can involve calculating your financial losses from your loved one’s death, such as funeral costs, medical bills, legal fees, and a loss of wages in the future. Your chosen attorney will be there to guide you through the process every step of the way.
Losing a loved one may be one of the hardest things you ever face, but the after-effects can be even more tragic. Faced with a loss of income and looming bills, consider finding out about your wrongful death claim options to recoup some of your costs. Request a free consultation with a reputable wrongful death attorney to find out more about how the claim filing process works.