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Who can file a wrongful death claim?

When a person is killed in an accident or intentionally, the family of that person can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Sometimes, other close relatives may file, such as a person's spouse or spouse-to-be.

What is the purpose of a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a direct claim that negligence by a person or company led to the death of a loved one of the person filing the complaint. It isn't actually an accusation of a crime, but it does make sure that, if they are found guilty, the defendants pay for the damage caused.

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

Anyone who suffers a direct loss because of the death can file a lawsuit. Those expenses could be things like funeral costs, medical bills, or other direct or indirect financial losses. Courts recognize lost financial support, like when a person's husband or wife passes away. That person's income no longer is present, putting the family into a very different financial situation than before the person's death.

Usually, it's immediate family members who can file a claim, because they're the ones most likely to suffer a direct loss. It's most common for spouses, children, and parents to file a claim, as they're likely to see the individual often and to be directly affected by the person's death. For instance, a child loses out on parental support, a spouse may have to pay for funeral costs, and parents may no longer be receiving income from their child working or have to pay out for high medical bills.

Any losses a person suffers could be enough to file a claim, but it's important to learn more about wrongful death cases before moving forward.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death: Who Can File?," Deanne Katz, Esq., accessed June 15, 2016

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