An Overview on Wrongful Death Claims
When an individual passes away suddenly due to the negligence of another, the victim’s survivors may have the opportunity to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit. The following is a brief overview on wrongful death claims.
Understanding a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim may arise when a victim has died due to the negligence of another person, business or entity. The right to file for a wrongful death lawsuit is usually limited to heirs and is governed by statutes enacted by our legislators. Each state has its own laws.
Wrongful death claims encompass different types of deadly accidents. This can range from simple vehicle accidents to complex medical procedures or even product liability incidents. People, companies, and even government agencies can be held legally liable for acting negligently and/or acting intentionally.
Who is Able to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The victim’s survivors must bring forth the wrongful death claim. Typically, the survivors include those who have suffered damages as a result of the victim’s death. In legal terms, the victim’s survivors are known as the real parties in interest. Typically, the acting representative will be the decedent’s chosen executor of his or her estate. Common examples of real parties in interest include, but are not limited to the following:
- Immediate family members
- Financial dependents,
- Life partners,
- Distant family members, and/or
- Those who have suffered financially, But only if permitted by statute.
The list of real parties in interest can vary by state. If you are unsure if you or someone you know qualifies to file or participate in a wrongful death lawsuit, contact us so we can clarify the options available.
Determining Liability for the Wrongful Death
Wrongful death claims could be brought forth against a wide range of individuals, employees, government agencies, and companies. For instance, in a vehicle accident involving a dangerous road and an impaired driver, driving a vehicle that performed poorly, a wrongful death action may include respondents such as, but not limited to the following:
- The negligent driver at fault in the vehicle accident,
- The engineer who designed the defective road,
- The government agency who failed to post adequate signs regarding road hazards, or failed to take measures to make the road safe,
- The manufacture, or installer of defective and dangerous parts of a vehicle involved, and
- The individual who provided intoxicants to the impaired driver under certain circumstances.
Wrongful Death Claims: Consider the Time Restrictions
Each state sets certain time restrictions, also known as statute of limitations that allow the opportunity to bring forth a wrongful death lawsuit. Time limits can be very short, and you should consult with an attorney immediately.
Obtaining Professional Support
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, contact an experienced and qualified attorney who can offer more knowledge on the legal process of filing for a wrongful death lawsuit. Since wrongful death claims can involve complex areas of law, have the potential to result in large awards, and have time limitations, it is highly recommended that a person seeking to file a claim consult with a knowledgeable attorney first. The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin are a team of dedicated attorneys who have represented many victims’ survivors file successful wrongful death lawsuits. Experiencing the sudden death of a loved one is a difficult and heartbreaking matter. The attorneys at Heiting & Irwin can champion on behalf of the survivors andcan file a lawsuit or initiate a claim against those responsible.