If a loved one dies in an accident that was not their fault, you, as a family member, can sue in a wrongful death lawsuit. However, there are conditions. For example, you should be a spouse or minor child of the deceased.
In some states, individuals can sue for the wrongful death of a child, life partner, grandchild or sibling. Some systems expand these laws. Therefore, these are things you should know about your rights in these wrongful death cases.
You can seek several types of damages in these cases. First, you should pursue payment of all medical expenses the deceased accrued due to the accident. You can also pursue funeral and burial expenses as well as pain and suffering.
Additional damages you can seek include loss of inheritance, lost wages, loss of services and bereavement causes, such as loss of affection, guidance, support and companionship.
Your family has the right to submit one wrongful death lawsuit. However, you and your family may disagree on some of the issues of the case. If more than one person files a lawsuit, a judge may combine the suits into one representing the estate. If the deceased had a will, the executor will represent the estate in the wrongful death lawsuit.
You need to file a wrongful death lawsuit within one year from the date of your loved one’s death. However, if the government or one of its employees contributed to the death, you have 90 days to file a notice with the government. Although deadline extensions are possible in some cases, do not delay your filing.
Wrongful death lawsuits are often prioritized based on the relationship between the victim and plaintiff, so if you are not a child or spouse, another case may supersede your own.