If someone close to you has recently been killed as a result of someone else’s actions, you may be wondering if you have the option to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This kind of claim is meant to allow the loved ones of the deceased to receive compensation for their loss. However, not just anyone can file. Only certain people with the right relationship to the victim can file a wrongful death claim. This guide will answer all your questions about who can file.
Who Can File for Wrongful Death?
The answer to this question depends heavily on which state you live in. Each state has its own laws about who can and cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit. These individuals always have this right, regardless of the state:
- Parents of a minor victim
- Minor children of the victim
- Spouses of the victim
Then, in certain states, these individuals are also allowed to file:
- The extended family of the victim
- Siblings of the victim
- Parents of an adult victim
- Adult children of the victim
The first step in the process should be to determine whether or not you are even allowed to file. You can do your own research or speak with an attorney who specializes in wrongful death. If you cannot, you may want to work with a family member who is allowed to file.
What Can Be Claimed?
The matter of who can file a claim brings up another matter. In a personal injury lawsuit, all the damages claimed are losses the victim has suffered personally. However, in a wrongful death lawsuit, you are filing on behalf of the victim. This means that you can make claims based on the victim’s losses, but also for your own losses. These are the two categories that damages can fall into.
The damages that the victim suffered may include pain and suffering, medical bills, lost wages due to the injury, emotional distress, the purchase of medicine or medical equipment, and damage to property. The damage that the loved ones of the victim suffered may include pain and suffering, emotional distress, loss of companionship, loss of financial support, funeral costs, and burial costs. All of these damages can be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit. Additionally, punitive damages may be assigned, which are meant to act as a punishment for the defendant.
You can learn more about what types of damages are likely to speak with an attorney, like a wrongful death law firm in Indianapolis, IN. This should be the first step you take.
Thank you to the experts at Ward & Ward Law Firm, for their insight into personal injury law.