Who Is Able to Sue for Wrongful Death?

Personal Injury Lawyer

When your loved one passes from this life because of the negligent actions of another individual, it’s a lot to take in. Why did it happen? What will happen to the perpetrator? How will your family move on from such a tragedy? The good news is you can financially move on with the help of a wrongful death attorney. Winning a wrongful death lawsuit could bring you coverage for medical expenses, end of life care, funeral expenses, and even lost wages and emotional suffering.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

The causes of wrongful death lawsuits are many, but there are some that are more common than others. This includes medical malpractice, slip and fall deaths, elderly abuse, product malfunctions, car accidents, and poisonings. Speaking with an attorney can help surviving family members determine whether their personal situation would qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit in one of these situations.

Who Can File

In a few states, the decedent’s estate files the wrongful death lawsuit so it can be compensated for losses that occurred due to the individual’s death. In such a case, there is typically a personal representative who actually brings the case.

In most other states, a living, direct family member of the deceased will bring the lawsuit. There are certain classes that the chain of responsibility goes through. If the first class brings no individuals, it goes to the next class. An example chain might look like the following:

  1. A living spouse, surviving children (including those who are adopted) and parents if the deceased is unmarried or a fetus
  2. Brothers, sisters or grandparents
  3. Life partners or domestic partners
  4. Financial dependents

Moving Forward Following a Wrongful Death

If your loved one died due to negligence of another party, you have a certain time limit in which to legally move forward after the death. You can contact a lawyer right away to get started or you can wait until after the funeral to give yourself time to properly grieve. Keep in mind there are some things your lawyer may instruct you on during the funeral preparations, so getting in touch sooner rather than later could be a good idea.

Every state has a different statute of limitations for wrongful death, though the typical time is two years. There are some exceptions to the rule as well, and your attorney can help you work through those.

Getting Started Today

If you feel you may have a wrongful death lawsuit on your hands, contact an attorney today. With a wrongful death lawyer in Phoenix, AZ on your side, you may receive more in financial compensation than you would have otherwise.



Thanks to Kamper Estrada, LLP for their insight into personal injury claims and wrongful death.