Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?


Losing a loved one is a devastating experience, and it can be even more traumatic when the death occurs due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful actions. In such cases, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be a way to seek justice and compensation for the damages caused. However, not everyone is entitled to file such a lawsuit.

1. Immediate Family Members

The immediate family members of the deceased are usually the primary candidates for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. These include the surviving spouse, children, and parents (in some cases). Depending on the state laws, siblings, grandparents, or other close relatives may also have the right to file a wrongful death claim. Immediate family members are usually given priority over other parties, and they may also receive a larger share of the compensation.

2. Personal Representatives

If the immediate family members are not willing or able to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the personal representative of the deceased’s estate can take on this responsibility. The personal representative is appointed by the court to administer the estate and handle legal matters on behalf of the deceased. In such cases, any compensation received from the lawsuit will go to the estate, which will be distributed according to the deceased’s will or state laws if there is no will.

3. Dependents and Life Partners

In some states, dependents and life partners of the deceased may also have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Dependents refer to anyone financially dependent on the deceased, such as children, elderly parents, or disabled relatives. Life partners may include unmarried partners who lived with the deceased and provided emotional and financial support. However, the eligibility criteria for dependents and life partners vary widely depending on the state laws.

4. Other Parties

In rare cases, other parties may also file a wrongful death lawsuit if they can prove that they suffered a direct financial or emotional loss due to the death. For example, a business partner of the deceased may file a claim if they can show that the death caused a significant loss to the company. However, such claims are usually more difficult to prove and may have a lower chance of success than immediate family members or personal representatives.

Hattiesburg Wrongful Death Attorneys

At Johnson, Ratliff & Waide, we have a team of experienced wrongful death attorneys ready to assist you in your pursuit of justice. Contact us today at (601) 202-8570 for a free consultation, and let us guide you through the process with compassion and expertise.

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