When a loved one passes on, we’re often left in a swirl of trauma, emotional pain, and suffering.
Emotional suffering is challenging enough in typical situations of familial death. But when someone else’s negligence caused the death of a loved one, you’re faced with even more complicated choices.
One question we hear often is where to start when it comes to suing on behalf of a deceased family member in the case of wrongful death.
Suing On Behalf Of A Deceased Family Member — Key Takeaways
- One can sue on behalf of a deceased family member in what’s called a wrongful death lawsuit, where you sue for the losses or damages caused by losing a loved one.
- To sue for wrongful death, the family member’s death has to have been caused by the negligent or reckless actions of another person.
- Wrongful death lawsuits can offer compensation for the emotional and financial damage a loss of a family member causes. These damages include loss of care, support, or inheritance, mental anguish, and pain and suffering.
If you file a suit for wrongful death, you’re not technically suing on behalf of your deceased family member but for yourself. You’re suing the person whose careless actions resulted in the death of your relative, and you’re suing them based on the damages the death caused to you personally.
Unfortunately, life insurance companies and workers comp insurance can take advantage of the desperate situation by offering you a minimal settlement while they know you need it most.
This article will help you understand your rights when it comes to suing for wrongful death on behalf of a deceased family member. We’ll also cover the statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits and when you can sue for someone else who’s still alive.
Finally, we’ll discuss the benefits of a free consultation with an experienced wrongful death lawyer. Our team at Zinda Law Group can help you investigate your deceased family member’s wrongful death and help prove that negligence played a part.
We’ll review your deceased member’s wrongful death case during our free attorney consultation to make sure you’re getting the settlement and closure you deserve.
For a free legal consultation, call 800-863-5312
What’s Considered a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
To sue for wrongful death, there has to be a liable party or a negligent person whose reckless actions directly resulted in your loved one’s death. A liable party could also be a brand whose products were defective or violated their warranty, resulting in fatal harm to your relative.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal action seeking compensation for damages caused by the death of a family member. You can bring a lawsuit against a liable individual, workplace, or business.
Situations in which negligence is considered responsible for a wrongful death include:
- “Wanton or reckless” action or behavior: If someone was doing something obviously dangerous, such as texting while driving.
- Failure to provide reasonable care or pay reasonable attention (negligence): While the person who put your family member in harm’s way might not have been reckless, they still didn’t provide proper care. Negligent situations include leaving a slippery floor unmarked or failing to lock up a dangerous pet.
- Danger to a person due to a defective product or “breach of warranty”: The product fails to live up to safety standards, such as a car with faulty brakes, harmful medicine, or a toy with sharp edges.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death on Behalf of a Deceased Family Member?
State laws dictate who can sue for wrongful death. For the most part, the victim’s immediate surviving family is legally allowed to seek compensation for the wrongful death of a deceased family member. In some cases, surviving relatives can choose to sue as a group in a joint suit or as individuals.
- Wrongful death laws vary from state to state, so it’s best to consult a lawyer in your area to find out exactly what your rights are.
- In some states, the victim’s children, spouse, parents, or legal guardians all have the right to sue.
- In other states, only the representative of the victim’s estate has the legal right to sue for wrongful death.
It’s impossible to put a number value on the loss and grief caused by the death of a family member, but grieving relatives have rights. Insurance companies often project their own greed onto those of us looking for compensation– don’t let them sell you short. A wrongful death lawyer can cover in detail the damages you’re entitled to receive a recovery for.
For now, we’ll cover some of the basic losses we can seek compensation for on behalf of a deceased family member.
How much compensation can I seek?
Common areas of compensation you can seek when suing on behalf of a deceased relative include:
- Pre-death pain and suffering
- Pre-death medical expenses
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of the deceased’s expected income
- Loss of consortium
- Loss of inheritance
- Loss of companionship
- Punitive damages are damages intended to punish the negligent party who caused the death, preventing similar behavior in the future. (Not all states offer punitive damages).
The compensation surviving relatives can seek after the wrongful death of a family member varies from state to state. To get an accurate list of damages that your state allows you to recover, schedule a free consultation with a seasoned wrongful death attorney who can take a look at the details of your case.
What Are the Statutes of Limitations for Suing on Behalf of a Deceased Family Member?
Lawsuits on behalf of a deceased family matter should always be filed as soon as the carelessness leading to their death is discovered. However, the legal time limit, or statute of limitations, varies from state to state. The statute is typically between 1–3 years after the date of death.
Determining the statutes of limitations also requires a review of the details surrounding the death. For example, if the death was intentional, it may be considered murder and not wrongful death, which changes the situation. If the deceased family member was a minor or mentally unfit to work, different laws could apply as well.
This can get confusing and all the little details matter. Our wrongful death lawyers at Zinda Law Group offer a free consultation, where we can review the facts of your case and let you know all your options, including the statute of limitations.
Complete a Free Case Evaluation form now
Can I Sue on Behalf of Someone Else, Such As a Living Family Member?
You can sue on behalf of a deceased family in the case of a wrongful death, where the family member dies due to an accident, providing you are a child, parent, or spouse of the deceased. Situations where you can sue on behalf of a living family member include:
- The Plaintiff is a Minor: If the plaintiff is a monitor, their parents or legal guardians can sue on their behalf.
- The Plaintiff is incapacitated: In this situation, the family member isn’t deceased but is in a condition where they can no longer make sound decisions on their own. The suing relative must have power of attorney over the incapacitated person.
- Class Action Lawsuits: A personal injury attorney or free legal aid or advocacy organization files a suit on behalf of a large group of people all affected by the same negligent situation.
Do I Need a Lawyer to Sue on Behalf of a Deceased Family Member? — Get help from Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyers
No settlement amount can bring back a loved one once they’ve passed. And no amount of money can make up for the wrongful death of a deceased family member. But insurance companies will only offer you a minimum amount if they know you’re troubled and struggling, hoping you’ll take it and disappear and you deserve more justice than that.
The wrongful death lawyers at Zinda Law Group have fought long and hard for years, suing on behalf of deceased family members for the recovery their surviving relatives deserve. We also work on a contingency fee basis, meaning you only pay a percentage of your settlement if we win. We also offer a free consultation. Let us take a look at the details of your deceased relative’s death and figure out exactly what type of damages you’re entitled to recover.
Don’t leave the justice your departed family member deserves in the hands of insurance companies preoccupied with their own interests. Our team at Zinda Law has the knowledge, experience, and resources necessary to help you through this challenging time. And as our client, you’ll pay nothing unless we win your case.
Call Zinda Law Group today at (800) 863-5312 for a free consultation with a seasoned wrongful death lawyer.