What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
When a loved one passes away due to the fault of another person or entity, the survivors may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Such a lawsuit seeks recovery for the following types of damages:
- The loss of the love, camaraderie, comfort, and affection
- Lost wages from the deceased
- Funeral expenses
- The value of the household services the decedent would have provided in the future
- The value of the financial support which the claimant would have received from the decedent
Who May Sue for Wrongful Death?
There are only certain people who may file a wrongful death claim. The “real parties in interest” also known as the survivors who suffer damage from the victim’s death include:
- Immediate family members: Surviving spouses and children (including adopted children) as well as parents of unmarried children
- Distant family members: Brothers, sisters, grandparents (i.e.: grandparents who are raising a child)
- Putative spouse: An individual who can prove that he or she had good faith belief that he or she were married to the victim but were not actually married by law.
- Parents of a deceased fetus
- Children of putative spouse
- Life partners and financial dependents (anyone who was financially dependent on the victim/decedent)
- Any minor who can prove that they were a resident of the decedent’s household for 180 days prior to the death and that they were dependent upon the decedent for at least 50% of their support at the time of death.
Immunity for Government Agencies and Employees
In some cases, certain people or agencies cannot be sued for wrongful death. For example, in some cases the government may be protected from a wrongful death lawsuit.
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