In the tragic event of losing a loved one due to the negligence or misconduct of another, you may be left grappling with grief and uncertainty. Along with the emotional turmoil, the financial impact can be significant. A wrongful death lawsuit might help provide some compensation for these damages.
But who exactly can sue for wrongful death? Deldar Legal is here to answer that question, aiming to equip you with crucial knowledge during this distressing period. We see wrongful death cases in all types of different situations from deadly aviation accidents to workers’ compensation lawsuits to Uber/Lyft accidents.
What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?
Before diving into who can sue for wrongful death, it’s essential to understand what a wrongful death claim entails. A wrongful death claim is a special kind of personal injury lawsuit made when someone dies due to another party’s legal fault. These wrongful death suits can arise from various circumstances, including medical malpractice, car accidents, criminal behavior, or product liability cases.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The answer to who can sue for wrongful death largely depends on the laws of each state. However, there are common threads that run throughout California law.
- Immediate Family Members: In all states, immediate family members such as spouses, children (including adopted ones), and parents of unmarried children can sue for wrongful death. These are typically the individuals most emotionally and financially impacted by the sudden loss.
- Life Partners, Financial Dependents, and Putative Spouses: In some states, a domestic or life partner, anyone who was financially dependent on the deceased, or a “putative spouse” (someone who believed in good faith that they were married to the victim) can also bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Distant Family Members: Some jurisdictions allow remote family members, like brothers, sisters, and grandparents, to file wrongful death lawsuits. Grandparents typically have rights when they are raising a child who passes away.
- All Persons Who Suffer Financial Loss: Some states extend the right to any person who suffers financial hardship due to the death. This provision might include the deceased’s employer in some cases.
- Parents of a Deceased Fetus: In certain states, the parents of a deceased fetus may bring a wrongful death action.
- The Estate: In some instances, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate may file a wrongful death claim to recover damages for medical costs, funeral expenses, and lost income.
Damages In The Suit
Damages in a wrongful death case typically fall into two categories. The first category compensates for losses related to the death itself. This includes medical and funeral costs, loss of expected income, loss of inheritance, and loss of care, guidance, and nurturing the deceased would have provided.
The second category compensates for losses the next of kin suffered. Some elements of this includes loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, and moral support.
The aftermath of a wrongful death is an overwhelming time filled with emotions and questions. Knowing who can sue for wrongful death is crucial, as it provides the bereaved a means to seek justice and compensation. Deldar Legal walks clients through this difficult time and offers free case evaluations when you call us at (844) 335-3271 or contact us online.
Posted in: Wrongful Death