The time after the unexpected death of a loved one can be a whirlwind, with so many things that need to be taken care of and a grieving process that you didn’t know you were going to be going through. As you move through that process, there might be another decision you need to make: determining whether the death of your loved one could have been prevented, and if so, deciding if you want to hold accountable the person, people, or entity that was potentially liable.
Nobody wants to file a wrongful death case, but sometimes this is the best way to get closure, receive compensation to help pay for funeral and other expenses, and have some closure in a tragic and devastating situation.
The Basics of Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims are recognized as legally allowed when the legal fault of one person or entity cause the death of a person. The most common wrongful death cases involve vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, product liability, or work-related accidents, although they are not limited to those things. If any person, company, or agency is found to have acted negligently, meaning that they behaved in a way that was different from how a “reasonable person” would behave in the same situation, or if they willfully did something that caused another person’s death, they might be held legally liable.
Who Can File Wrongful Death Lawsuits
These types of cases cannot be filed by just anyone, state laws generally restrict filers to those deemed a “party of interest”, which usually means a survivor who has suffered some type of damage or loss as a result of the person’s death, such as:
- Immediate family members, such as a spouse, child, or parent
- Financial dependents
- Domestic or life partners
- Extended family, such as brothers, sisters, or grandparents (only allowed in some states)
- Someone who suffers financial loss as a result of the person’s death (only allowed in some states)
Who Can Be Held Liable
In addition to restricting the people who can file a wrongful death claim, the parties that can be sued are also limited, although the limits are pretty broad. For the most part, any person, company, organization, employee, or government agency involved in the person’s death might be named in a lawsuit. However, there are also “immunity” protections for some individuals and organizations, and those vary by state.
Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult, but if you think that their death was the result of someone else’s negligence, talk to an attorney in Payson today to find out if you might have a wrongful death case.