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Who can file a wrongful death claim after a car accident that involved a fatality?

As a car accident law firm, we understand the heartfelt emotions our clients are experiencing after a losing a loved in a collision. If you are a family member of someone who has died in a car accident, we offer our condolences and ask that you call our firm to speak with a lawyer about your potential options.

Who can file a wrongful death claim after a car accident that involved a fatality?

In most U.S. states, a wrongful death happens when a person dies because of wrongdoing, negligence, or intentional action of another party or entity. When a wrongful death occurs, another person may pursue legal action. Usually this involves a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. In essence this is intended to seek monetary compensation against the party or entity who was responsible for the death. In general you will need to have legal representation from a car accident lawyer who handles wrongful death claims.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit or Claim

Every state has their own laws and rules pertaining to wrongful death claims and lawsuits. The following is a general overview of these laws. To understand what may apply in your own state, please call a car accident lawyer.

●      Immediate family members are able to file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit

●      Usually if the deceased was married, the surviving spouse will take legal action

●      If the deceased was an adult, and had children over the age of 18, they might also be able to file a claim

●      If the deceased was a minor, usually a parent will file a claim

●      Depending on the state, a partner in a domestic partnership or civil union can file on behalf of their deceased partner

●      If the deceased was an adult and had no spouse, children, or immediate family members, distant relatives might be able to file the claim or lawsuit.

It is possible for a dispute between family members to arise over who files the claim. Typically a court will only allow one person to do so; furthermore, if two or more claims/lawsuits are filed, the court will likely consolidate them into one. A car accident lawyer can help you to understand whether or not you are able to file a claim and explain the process in further detail during a consultation.

When a Will or Trust Exists

If the deceased had a will, the court may appoint a personal representative to oversee and administer the estate. In most states the personal representative may also have the right to pursue a claim on behalf of the estate.

Time Limits for Filing

Each state will have their own laws regarding the time limits to file a claim or lawsuit. Known as a statute of limitations, if you miss this deadline you may lose the right to seek compensation. The length of the statute varies, but no state has a time limit of less than one year. Generally the time to file begins on the day of the deceased’s’ death.

If your loved one was a government employee or a government entity was responsible for the death, you will likely very short time limits to file a notice of claim. It is highly recommended to consult a Wrongful Death Lawyer residents trust as quickly as possible.


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