“Wrongful death,” in most states, is known to occur upon death by intentional act or negligence by a secondary person or company. Due to practical reasons and several obvious not-really-legal ones, the deceased cannot file lawsuits for damages. It comes down to another person to take the matter to civil court. This is where a wrongful death suit can take form; a lawsuit that seeks a civil remedy (asking for monetary compensation against damages) from the people or parties involved in the decedent’s death.
Who can file a wrongful death suit? The answer is usually determined by the state in where the decedent resided. Each state has its own set of laws that govern wrongful death lawsuits, and the legal and procedural standards differ from one state to the next.
It Comes Down To Where You Live That Decides Who Can File the Lawsuit
Since the law does not allow the deceased to file the suit, the question remains: Who can file? The answer to this is the state the decedent lived in. Every state creates and practices its own laws; it applies to wrongful death claims. These laws vary between states. Some laws, however, are the same.
Immediate family, for example, is allowed to file a wrongful death claim. Grandparents, aunts or uncles, and siblings can file the claim should no one else be available. If the decedent were married, the living spouse could bring the suit up to court. In some cases, children are allowed to bring the case up if the decedent is an adult. This applies in reverse, too, and parents are to bring the suit for a deceased child.
How the Decedent’s Will – If Any – Is Taken Into Consideration
Who can file the death suit also depends on the decedent’s will. Courts appoint executors of wills or any personal representatives to administer the decedent’s wishes. More times than not, a court-appointed executor or representative has complete authority over all proceedings. However, if it concerns relatives and immediate family, they can lawfully contest the will.
Timeframes – Till When Is It Convenient To File
A year – tops. However, the clock starts ticking from the moment of the decedent’s death. But it varies from case to case; in some instances, you can file even after a year has passed with the right appeal. In cases where a government employee might be involved in the death, you would need to file a notice of claim. You will have a total of 90 days to file this notice. A strong claim can lead to the possibility of filing a complete wrongful death suit.
Again, in some cases where there is compelling reasoning and various factors, deadlines can be extended or tolled. But waiting too long has consequences. If you are late and do not have a good reason and none of the pre-notice requirements, you can lose the right to remedy the decedent’s death. This is for when the government is involved in the death.
Never wait to file, even if your circumstances force you to. Try to deal with deliberations as best as possible. But do not miss the one-year deadline. In the cases of government involvement, try meeting the 90 days criteria.