Taking Legal Action: Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death and Are There Any Exceptions to the Rule?



When a loved one passes it is always difficult, but when their death is due to the neglect of someone else, that pain is multiplied. In addition to your grief and suffering, you now have anger and confusion, and you want someone to take responsibility for their negligence.a

That is where wrongful death lawsuits come into play. An attorney who specializes in these types of cases can help you get the closure that you need by ensuring the guilty party is held accountable. But what does filing a wrongful death lawsuit involve, and who is allowed to sue?

The Basics of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and Who Can File One

A wrongful death lawsuit is filed on behalf of the decedent, or the person who passed away as the result of someone else’s negligence or action. This can be an individual person or a company. While every state is different, there are some components of a wrongful death lawsuit that remain the same no matter where you are.

In every state, immediate family members are allowed to file a lawsuit alleging negligence against someone for a loved one’s death. In most cases, if the deceased was married at the time of death, the spouse is the one who brings the lawsuit to court. However, if it the victim was a minor child then the parent(s) would typically file the claim.

There are exceptions, however. In some states, surviving adult children can bring a lawsuit to court. Some states also allow civil unions and domestic partnerships legal control of the case on behalf of their deceased partner. Other times, distant family members can sue for accountability of a single adult’s death if there were no close family members such as children.

In general, only one lawsuit is allowed per decedent, so if you and another family member are each attempting to file a claim, those claims will likely be combined into one case.

What Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Entail?

As with the laws on who can file one, each state also has its own regulations on what the requirements are that constitute a wrongful death. A knowledgeable attorney, like those at Stinson Law Group and other wrongful death experts, can help you determine if your situation qualifies and is strong enough to pursue a claim against the negligent party.

All states have the same basic foundation necessary, though: a person has died as a result of someone else’s negligence or harmful intent, and those closest to the deceased have endured a monetary loss due to the death.

Has Your Loved One Been the Victim of a Wrongful Death?

Going through this tragic time is stressful and painful. You need to be able to focus on your grief and getting through your loss. You should not have to be worrying about wading through the piles of paperwork involved in a wrongful death lawsuit to be able to get the financial assistance you are entitled to.

Instead, find an expert attorney who can help you and who will guide you through this difficult period. Make those who caused the harm be held accountable so you can find closure and move on with your life.