Accidents that end up in death are unfortunately more common every day. Few actually think what happens after, with the people involved in an accident that ended in somebody’s death. In most cases, as an accidents attorney will admit, a wrongful death claim can be successfully won in court. Below are a few frequently asked questions about this aspect.
What does a wrongful death claim involve?
When someone has died, following an accident caused by another person or entity, surviving family members can sue for wrongful death, looking for compensation for various expenses: funeral expenses, lost wages and even survivors’ loss compensation. Although a relatively new concept in US law, a lot of federal courts have created the right to bring a wrongful death action for family survivors. Claims for wrongful death involve various types of fatal incidents, ranging from auto accidents to product liability and medical malpractice. In general, particular persons, governmental agencies or private companies can be legally proven at fault for acting negligently and therefore causing an accident that brought about the death of another person.
Which family relatives can sue for wrongful death?
In legal terms, the real parties in interest are the only people who can sue for wrongful death. These are representatives on behalf of the survivors who have suffered damage from someone’s death. The representative can be either your accidents attorney or a legal executor. Depending on various state rules, the real parties can include:
- Immediate family- for instance a spouse, children or adopted children or parents of the deceased.
- Financial depending partners- for instance a putative spouse (a partner that was not legally married to the deceased) or anyone who was dependent from a financial point of view on the decedent.
- A distant family member- considered in this case a sibling (brother or sister) or grandparents. In the case of grandparents, these have to be able to prove they were legally responsible for the deceased.
According to some state laws, any non-blood related relative who suffered financially from a wrongful death can sue.
Who is legally liable for wrongful death?
There are various scenarios at work here and it is good to keep in mind the fact that wrongful death lawsuits will be brought against an extremely varied array of people. Employers, employees, government agencies, and private persons- they can all be made liable, if negligence is proven.
For instance, in an auto accident that occurred on a faulty road but was caused by a drunk driver, family members of the deceased can sue either the driver or employer of that driver, or the builder of the faulty road. But this is not all, since the person who manufactured the car, the owner of the car, the government agency who did not provide faulty road signs or the business owner who sold alcohol to the driver can be made liable. It all depends on the particular circumstances leading to the incident and how good the accidents attorney is.