Who Is Entitled to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

To act with responsibility so as not to put anyone’s life in danger is both a moral and legal duty of any person. All human laws basically point to this, promoting and commanding at the same time respect for properties and, most importantly, human life.

It is for such reason why manufacturers of consumer goods have standards to comply with, why health care experts, like doctors, go through rigorous study and training, and pursue continuous growth, why laws that mandate the creation of a safe and healthy working environment have been passed, and why drivers, especially of commercial vehicles, are required to enroll in professional driving schools where they will learn and develop the skills necessary for safe driving.

Negligence or recklessness, however, continue to be the dominant behavior of so many people, choosing the excitement of taking risks over the safety of all those around them. Thus, because of these negligent or reckless acts, millions of accidents happen every year, accidents that injure millions of people and claim thousands of innocent lives. These injuries and loss of lives usually result from medical malpractice, car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents, defective products, poorly maintained premises, and workplace accidents.

Under the law, negligence has one presupposed factor: strict liability. This presupposed factor legally holds the negligent individual totally accountable for whatever result his/her negligent behavior leads to, whether injury of loss of life.

In the event of death, the victim’s surviving family, legally called the “real parties in interest,” may file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit through its chosen representative (may be a lawyer or any family member). The “real parties in interest,” first and foremost, refers to the dead victim’s, or decedent’s, husband/wife and children, whether biological or adopted). If the decedent was unmarried then the parents are the first in line. If the parents, however, are already dead, then some states consider the following persons as “real parties in interest”:

  • Those who were financially dependent on the victim, such as a life partner or a putative spouse. A putative spouse is someone who sincerely believes that he/she and the decedent were married
  • Grandparents and siblings
  • Any person whom the decedent cared for or supported while he/she was still alive, but who will definitely suffer financially due to the victim’s untimely death.

The victim’s untimely death can certainly cause devastating financial effects to his/her family and recognized dependents, making the need for compensation an immediate matter. While the law allows any family member to be the (family’s) representative, if this person lacks knowledge about the laws governing wrongful death and wrongful death claims, then it will do much good for the family to seek the help of a seasoned wrongful death lawyer, such as one from Louisville.

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