What is a Wrongful Death Action?

Personal Injury Lawyer

A wrongful death action is a civil claim against a party intentionally or unintentionally responsible for an individual’s death. The decedent’s survivors, typically close relatives, will usually file the lawsuit. In most situations, death results from negligence, which the claimant must prove during a trial. Governmental agencies, people, and companies can be legally at fault for an individual’s death. However, the right to sue is not so broad.

Understanding Who Can Sue

In legal terms, a representative or executor of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death action. However, the lawsuit is representative of only the real parties in interest. These parties include immediate family members, life partners, putative spouse, financial dependents, distant family, etc. The extent of reach beyond the immediate family is reliant on specific state laws.

Immunity Against Wrongful Death Claims

Depending on where you live, some entities and individuals might be immune to wrongful death claims. For example, some states allow for government immunity. Other states have laws protecting train companies against claims in railroad collisions or medical devices.

Doing Your Research

Wrongful death claims vary significantly from place to place, meaning it is crucial to research the laws before filing any lawsuit. While it is possible to educate yourself, it is better to talk with an experienced wrongful death attorney to understand if your claim holds water.

A lawyer will know whether your claim is reasonable, and they can help you determine the best path forward. Wrongful death often leaves the immediate family with significant financial uncertainty. A qualified attorney will want to help develop an argument that provides that best legal shot for success.

Finding a Qualified Attorney

The ideal attorney will demonstrate a reliable focus on wrongful death claims. Beyond finding a lawyer with focus, you also want an attorney with experience and references. A wrongful death claim is a necessary but challenging legal action. Do not file alone. Contact a local wrongful death attorney to discuss your claim and trial strategy.