The last thing many people expect is to lose their loved one to an accident. When these accidents involve negligence, family members might be able to sue for wrongful death. A question that commonly comes up is who in the family is legally permitted to file this type of lawsuit. Answers vary depending on the state the family resides in. Talk to a Kansas City wrongful death attorney to figure out whether you can sue.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
For someone to file a wrongful death claim, they must have suffered some form of damages from the loss of a loved one. These damages might be monetary or emotional. Each state has different laws regarding who the real parties of interest are for the deceased loved one.
Who Can File
- In most situations, the real parties of interest are immediate family members. Spouses and children are considered immediate family members, along with adopted children and parents of children who are not married to a spouse. When a child marries a spouse, the spouse could become the party of interest.
- Some states allow more distant family members like grandparents and siblings to sue for wrongful death. In some cases, this requires them to be a guardian to the loved one who passed away. Other states go further and allow any financial dependents to file a wrongful death claim.
Overall, those who managed the deceased loved one’s financial assets and the estate could be eligible for wrongful death benefits. Consider contacting a Kansas City wrongful death lawyer for more information on how this works. An experienced lawyer can help you figure out whether you can file a wrongful death claim and what this entails.
How Wrongful Death Claims Work
Suing for wrongful death requires certain legal conditions and circumstances to be met. The loss of the loved one must have been caused by intentional wrongs or a tortious injury. Intentional wrongs are purposeful actions to harm someone else like assault. Even if the person did not mean to end the life of another person, that person could still be held liable for damages.
Tortious injuries involve acts of commission or omission that were not intended. These occur by accident but can still hold the person responsible for the accident liable. Acts of commission include reckless, careless, or dangerous behaviors that result in harm to someone else. Examples include driving recklessly and using machinery at work incorrectly.
Acts of omission include failures to take action that could have prevented harm. Common examples include a doctor failing to check a patient for allergies, drivers not checking their blind spots, and workers ignoring safety rules.