Robert A. Solomon, P.C.
Two Offices Serving New York & New Jersey

Wrongful death claims: who can bring them?

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Wrongful death suits are among the most difficult to litigate because these claims always bring up difficult memories for the surviving family. The intersection of deep emotional loss and complicated legal issues is burdensome for many families. Additionally, wrongful death claims are complex because the primary witness, the decedent (the person who passed away) is dead therefore plaintiffs must rely on evidence from other parties. This post will go over the basics of a wrongful death claim.

First, wrongful death suits can only be brought by a limited number of people. Most states only permit close family members, spouses, children, and parents, to sue for a wrongful death suit. Other people, even if they grieve the loss of the person, are not permitted to bring suits. Yes, that even includes siblings in many cases. A few states do permit siblings, grandparents, and long-term partners to bring claims but that is the exception. You may want to call a lawyer for some advice before filing a claim.

Some states also limit the person who brings the suit to the "personal representative" of the estate. The personal representative is the trustee or executor of the estate. That is a family member.

If you lost a loved one in a fatal accident, you might want to call an attorney – you could have a valid cause of action for wrongful death. As illustrated above, these claims are subject to several limitations which are not immediately clear. A lawyer can go over these limitations and advise you of the best way to pursue compensation. Litigation is probably the furthest thing from your mind in a time like this, but it is important that you don't put off these decisions for too long. Your claim could expire.

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