How Do You File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

If you have a loved one that dies due to the negligence or fault of someone else, you might be able to sue them. This is called a wrongful death lawsuit as it relates to the actions or non-actions of someone that led to their death, as opposed to an accidental death or natural death. Here are some things to know about filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

What situations qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit?

While the reasons for a wrongful death lawsuit can be complex, there are certain areas where they tend to be more common. The death can't be accidental, but you must be able to prove it was either intentional or caused by negligence. Someone who dies in a risky surgery might not be the victim of a wrongful death lawsuit, but if the surgeon intentionally did the surgery even though they were intoxicated, that can be considered a wrongful death. Medical malpractice is a common reason for a wrongful death lawsuit, but not the only one. You can sue someone if you believe they intentionally harmed your loved one and that ultimately led to their death, such as with a fatal car accident or physical abuse that led to their death.

Who files this type of claim?

It also helps to understand who exactly has the right to file the claim. While it depends where you live, this typically needs to be an immediate family member, spouse, or life partner. In some cases, other family members are able to file the claim if the parent, sibling, child, or spouse is unavailable or unwilling to file it. You might also live somewhere that allows you to file the lawsuit if you suffer financially as a result of the person's wrongful death, even if you are not blood related or married to them.

Who do you file the lawsuit against?

This can be tricky because there might be different people or companies at fault for the person's death. In medical malpractice, it could be multiple people who are at fault, from the doctor or surgeon to the hospital itself for employing someone with a history of being negligent with their patients. In a vehicle accident with multiple drivers, you need to figure out which driver actually caused the fatal accident. Some other people you may be able to sue include a government agency that didn't have proper warnings about road hazards, a company that sold a product they knew to be defective and a risk to people's health and lives, or someone who sold alcohol to the person who drove drunk and killed your loved one.

You need to have proper evidence to prove someone caused the death of your loved one, which requires help from an experienced personal injury attorney. Make sure they have experience dealing with wrongful death claims specifically.

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