Bus Accidents: My Spouse was Killed; What are My Rights?Last updated on: August 20, 2015
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Losing a close loved one like a spouse through a sudden and terrible incident like a bus crash can be devastating emotionally and psychologically. Psychologists have consistently recognized that the death of a spouse is one of the most traumatic life events we can go through, and the trauma is only increased when the death is sudden and unexpected. In such a difficult situation, you as the surviving spouse have important legal rights that can be exercised. Unfortunately, the law does not give you much time to exercise these rights and does not extend any special privileges to you despite your grief. That is why it is vitally important that you retain experienced and aggressive legal counsel following the death of a spouse in a bus crash: to ensure your legal rights are protected.
Legal Rights of Surviving Family Members
If your spouse left a will or established a trust, an attorney specializing in that field may be consulted to better explain your spouse’s final wishes regarding the distribution of property and other matters. Your bus accident attorney can advise you of other important rights you have available to you. These include:
- The right to bring a lawsuit in the name of your deceased spouse: You have the ability to file a lawsuit as the “next friend” of your deceased spouse. This lawsuit (called a “wrongful death” lawsuit in most jurisdictions) seeks compensation for the damages and losses your spouse experienced prior to his or her death. Medical expenses, lost wages, emergency medical treatment costs (like ambulance costs or helicopter transport costs), and most every other type of damage available in a bus accident lawsuit would be available. In addition, you would be able to make the important decisions regarding the case that your deceased spouse would have been able to make, such as whether the wrongful death lawsuit should be settled and for how much.
- The right to recover compensation your deceased spouse would have been entitled to: Not only can you bring a lawsuit in the name of your deceased spouse, but you can be awarded the damages he or she is entitled to if the wrongful death lawsuit is successful.
- The right to recover compensation for your own losses: You are also entitled to bring a lawsuit in your own name against the negligent party who caused or contributed to the death of your spouse. This type of lawsuit is commonly referred to as a “survival action.” Unlike a wrongful death action, in a “survival action” you are seeking compensation for your own losses.
Survival action lawsuits typically involve unique damages that do not appear frequently in other types of civil lawsuits in which the injured victim survives. Of course, a surviving spouse can seek compensation for lost wages that his or her spouse would have contributed to the family had he or she lived as well as pain and suffering the surviving spouse experienced. You are also able to recover damages for loss of consortium, which is the loss of the companionship and relationship of the deceased spouse.
Seek Help from an Experienced Bus Accident Attorney Today
If your spouse died in a bus accident caused by someone’s carelessness, you need the knowledgeable and caring legal counsel of Zinda Law Group. We can walk you through the process of seeking compensation for both your own losses as well as the losses experienced by your spouse and give you the time and space you need to grieve. Contact our offices today at (800) 863-5312 to speak with one of our bus accident death attorneys today.