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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

September 29, 2023
Wrongful Death Claim

A loved one’s death always comes as a shock. Mourning that loss is difficult, but even more so when you know their death was preventable. When people lose their lives because of another’s negligence or actions, their loved ones can seek justice through a wrongful death claim.

Some cases aren’t as simple as a hit-and-run or a trucking case where liability seems obvious. Wrongful death claims may arise from an individual or organization creating an environment that leads to someone’s death.

A wrongful death attorney can help you file a claim and collect compensation for losing a loved one. 

Defining Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim is a type of personal injury lawsuit. In many personal injury suits, the victim can advocate for themself. For example, if someone slips and falls on ice in a parking lot because of a maintenance company’s negligence, they can pursue a claim against said company.

However, when the injury ends in death, the victim can no longer fight for their justice. Instead, this responsibility falls on the people they left behind. You can file a wrongful death lawsuit if your loved one’s death was the result of: 

  • Negligence
  • Recklessness
  • Intentional misconduct

Common examples of wrongful death claims include distracted or drunk driving accidents, medical malpractice, and industrial accidents. 

Grieving is a long process, but you want to take action for a wrongful death claim as soon as possible. The typical statute of limitations for a wrongful death claim in Texas is two years and three years in New Mexico.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Unfortunately, not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim. While the laws vary by state, wrongful death claims are usually limited to the person’s close family. The victim’s parents, children, and spouse can file a claim with the help of a wrongful death attorney.

Surviving Parents

The surviving parents of the victim can file a wrongful death claim. They may be the biological or adoptive parents as long as they are legally recognized as the victim’s parents. 

Surviving Children

Similarly, for surviving children to file a wrongful death claim, they must be legally recognized as the victim’s children. This connection can be biological or adoptive, but they cannot file a claim for their biological parent if they are adopted. Additionally, surviving children must be legal adults to file a claim.

Surviving Spouse

A surviving spouse can also file a wrongful death claim. The spouse and victim must be legally recognized as married, not just in a long-term relationship. If the spouses were separated at the time of the accident, the spouse may still file a claim. Similarly, if they remarry after their spouse’s death, they still have the right to file a claim.

Damages for Wrongful Death Claims

Various forms of damages for wrongful death claims are available. You can seek reimbursement for costs like funeral expenses and medical treatment through economic damages. If your loved one was a source of income, you could also seek compensation for their lost wages. 

Your damages aren’t limited to financial loss, however. You can pursue compensation for your suffering or loss of partnership. You might also seek punitive damages depending on the extent of negligence or misconduct. These damages financially punish the guilty party.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim? Contact Personal Injury Attorneys

Wrongful death claims are a lot to handle, in addition to losing a loved one. A wrongful death attorney at Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C., can guide you through this difficult process.

Fadduol, Cluff, Hardy & Conaway, P.C. has practiced personal injury law since 1984 and has won hundreds of millions of dollars in damages for victims and their families. Call 800-433-2408 to begin with a case review today.