If a person’s death is legally identified as caused by the fault of another person or entity, the survivors can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The survivors file this case to get compensation for their loss.
The common law used to not to have this lawsuit, but now, every state in the US has their wrongful death law. This law involves all kinds of fatal accidents such as medical complications, car accidents, product liability, malpractice, etc. Persons, businesses, companies, and even government agencies can cause these legal faults. These faults could be done by negligence or intentionally.
People who can file the case
The survivors who suffer the loss of the person who died are called “real parties in interest.” These people include the immediate family members such as the children, the spouses, and the parents (if the person who died is unmarried). Life partners, domestic partners, financial dependents and a person who believed with good faith that he or she was truly married to the decedent called “putative spouse.”
Distant family members like sisters, brothers, or grandparents are also considered “real parties in interest” in some states.
Those who suffer financial loss for the death of the victim, even if they are not related or married, are allowed to file wrongful death lawsuit to claim compensation in some states.
There are states that allow the parents of a dead fetus to file wrongful death lawsuit to claim emotional and financial loss. However, there are also states that don’t because these states require the baby to be born alive before the infant dies.
Who can be sued?
Those who committed the legal fault that can be sued for wrongful death lawsuit include the employer or driver that caused the accident, the designer or construction company that built the faulty road or building, government agencies that did not give proper warning, manufacturers of the faulty product, etc.
Wrongful death claims can be very complicated that’s why everyone who is included in the “real party in interest” need a good lawyer who specializes on this issue. It would be extremely fruitful to hire one as early as the need arises.
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