Who Qualifies to File a Wrongful Death Suit?

First of all, what is wrongful death? It is a legal term referring to the death of an individual caused by negligence or recklessness of other persons or entities. Under those circumstances, a wrongful death suit or claim can be brought against the alleged party by the immediate family members of the deceased victim for emotional or financial damages caused to them. Usually, it is the surviving spouse who can sue for wrongful death, but children or another close family member may qualify in varying situations.

On the contrary, people who are not related to nor dependent upon the decedent for support and services cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit. An adult child cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased has a living spouse. The parents of the deceased cannot file a claim if there is a surviving spouse or minor children. This type of lawsuit cannot be claimed if death was due to natural causes or suicide or the decedent’s intentional acts.

Different states present varying laws regarding wrongful deaths. It is best to contact a personal injury attorney like Cesar Ornales to receive advice on whether a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed on your behalf.

Now that we have an idea of who can and who cannot file for a wrongful death suit, we need to look at some of the reasons someone might sue regarding the death of a beloved family member:

  • Medical malpractice — This happens whenever a doctor or another health care worker causes a patient’s death through a negligent act or omission. This may take place while administering medical care to the patient in the form of a wrong diagnosis, treatment, or health care administration. Of course, the medical malpractice plaintiff must establish that the appropriate standard of care was breached. Ornelas Law Firm has the lawyer who is ready and fully qualified to investigate and render that proof for you.
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents — These can include those that involve passenger cars, motorcycles, commercial vehicles, buses, watercraft, all-terrain vehicles, rideshares, and aircraft in which death can occur in a considerable number of ways.
  • Defective products or drugs — With these, we include not only drugs but also surgical products, pharmaceutical drugs, food, or vehicles that malfunctioned, resulting in death and a probable basis for a wrongful death legal dispute. In product liability cases, liable parties may include the manufacturer, retailer, or supplier. 
  • Nursing Home Abuse or NeglectIf death results in abuse or neglect to a resident of this type of facility, there may be a cause for a wrongful death suit.
  • Criminal Acts — With intentional criminal acts resulting in a person’s death, that person’s family could bring forth a lawsuit because of the loss of life. In these cases, the criminal more than likely has been arrested, charged, and convicted of the crime. 
  • Premises Liability IssuesThese may include hazardous conditions that caused the death of someone such as falling or drowning in a swimming pool.

Is there a time limit on when you should file a claim? Yes. Different states require a wrongful death lawsuit to be filed within different periods. However, there can be exceptions when the time may be extended in some cases. When you talk with your injury attorney, you can be advised whether your case can be extended based on the facts of your case.

Wrongful death cases can be handled best by a lawyer. Cesar Ornelas is experienced and knowledgeable in these kinds of litigations. You would greatly benefit from Cesar’s team working on your behalf. Losing a loved one is always difficult, but losing a loved one due to neglect and someone being reckless is even more detrimental. Call Ornelas Law Firm today and receive the help you need. They are available 24/7 and offer a FREE consultation. Also, you pay nothing unless Ornelas wins for you. That is a promise!

Featured Photo by Kat Jayne from Pexels


If you or a loved one has been seriously injured, please fill out the form below for your free consultation or call us at: (855) 930-1149

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