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What Families Need To Know When Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

On Behalf of | May 10, 2014 | Medical Malpractice

When someone you love dies, it can seem like your world has come crashing down. Not only do people who have lost loved ones have to pick up the pieces and try to heal emotionally, but most people also have to deal with the financial burden of losing a family member. Although no one ever wants to have to deal with finances at a time like this, it is important to learn how to lessen the financial burden that a loss created in an effort to secure a family’s financial future. This is why wrongful death lawsuits are filed.

Although families are often approached by hospitals, insurance companies, and other negligent parties to settle their claims after a wrongful death, it is important that families are aware of their rights to file a wrongful death lawsuit in order to collect the maximum compensation.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?

The following people are usually eligible to file a wrongful death claim against a negligent party:

  • Spouse. When medical negligence claims the life of a patient, the patient’s spouse has a right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the doctor, hospital, or wrongdoer. Sadly, the loss of a spouse doesn’t just cause an emotional and relational loss, but it can create a financial burden due to the loss of income or loss of services around the house. This is why the surviving spouse needs to file a wrongful death suit and recover for these losses.
  • Child. When a child loses one parent or both parents, the child (including an adopted child or stepchild) has a right to bring a wrongful death claim against the wrongdoer. Losing a mother or father can turn a child’s life upside down and can impact a child for life. This is why a wrongful death lawsuit needs to be pursued in order to collect for the emotional and financial hardships the loss of a parent causes. 

Generally, the right to collect wrongful death damages can only be brought by these designated beneficiaries. However, if the person who dies doesn’t have a spouse or child, there are others who may be allowed to bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the wrongdoer, including:

  • Parent. If a child was lost as a result of medical malpractice, the parents of that child have a right to pursue justice and collect compensation for the mental anguish and emotional trauma they endured. They also have a right to collect damages for the medical and funeral costs. A parent who was financially dependent on an adult child may also be able to file a claim.
  • Other family members. This can include brothers, sisters, and sometimes grandparents. For example, a grandparent may have been raising a child and can make a case for recovering wrongful death damages.

Anyone who suffers financially from the loss of a provider may be able to collect damages, even if that person is not related to the victim. Because laws are complex, it is wise to consult an experienced attorney. For help bringing an action against the wrongdoer, contact us so we can investigate if medical negligence occurred and how we can help you file a wrongful death lawsuit.