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Who can sue for wrongful death?

You lost a loved one in a horrific highway pile-up caused by another driver's negligence. The medical bills, funeral costs and loss of earnings from your loved one have really taken a toll on your finances. Someone suggested that you might be able to file a claim for wrongful death.

But who has the right to sue for wrongful death after someone is killed through no fault of their own? Do you have that legal standing? You might.

Wrongful death lawsuits must be filed by those who have legal standing, i.e., individuals who were harmed by the actions of the defendant. Typically, this will be limited to spouses, children and parents, although in certain cases, other family members may have standing as well.

You also must be able to show how that harm has cost you financially, as in the aforementioned medical and funeral bills and loss of your loved one's financial support. There are also more nebulous losses that may qualify, including:

  • Loss of child care services
  • Loss of home maintenance
  • Lost prospect of inheritance

Your state may specifically limit those with the standing to sue for wrongful death, as well. Others may permit members of nontraditional families and those individuals in large, extended families to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Seeking guidance at these times can clarify your options, as the rules can be confusing. There are statutory limitations as well you must abide by or your case could proscribe. That means that the clock has run out on the claim and you no longer have any right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in your loved one's death.

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The Gori Law Firm
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