The loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult times in anyone's life. This can be even more painful when someone's negligence or intentional act caused the death. If someone's death qualifies as wrongful, their surviving family members have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit in an attempt to recover damages. The laws surrounding wrongful death can seem complex, especially when it comes to determining who is eligible to file a lawsuit.
1. Surviving Spouse:
If the deceased person had a surviving spouse, they are typically the first person who is allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The spouse is often seen as the one who would have been most affected by the death, emotionally and financially. If no children exist, the spouse is usually entitled to all damages awarded in the lawsuit. If there are children, the damages may be divided between the spouse and children based on state law.
If the deceased person did not have a surviving spouse, their children may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The children must be under the age of 18, or if they are adults, they must prove that the death caused them a financial loss. If there are multiple children, the damages awarded are typically divided equally between them.
If the deceased person did not have a surviving spouse or children, their parents may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is only applicable in certain states and only if the parents can prove that they were financially dependent on the deceased person.
If the deceased person did not have a surviving spouse, children, or parents, their siblings may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a rare occurrence and only applies in a few states. Siblings would have to prove they were financially dependent on the deceased person.
5. Estate Executor:
If no immediate family members survive the deceased person, the estate executor may be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The estate executor would distribute any damages awarded to the deceased person's next of kin or heirs.
Seattle Wrongful Death Lawyers
If you've lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence or misconduct, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. At Carpenter & Zuckerman, we understand the emotional and financial toll this can take on a family. Our experienced and compassionate attorneys are here to guide you through this difficult time and fight for the compensation you deserve. Contact us today at (425) 585-4009 for a free consultation.