Who Can I Sue for the Wrongful Death of a Loved One?

“Who can I sue?” is a common reaction to the pain and sorrow you feel following the unexpected and sudden death of a loved one. It is clear that no amount of money can take away your suffering or bring back your loved one. However, you do have the right to collect damages from the party responsible for the death of your family member and you may be able to do so by filing a wrongful death claim.

Losing a son, daughter, husband, wife, mother, or father is always a traumatic experience, especially when your loved one dies in a tragic accident caused by another party’s carelessness or negligence. The law varies in each state for wrongful death; for instance, in Illinois, a wrongful death claim is not part of the decedent’s estate, which means that any recovery is not affected by creditors or debt associated with the victim and all sums of money recovered go directly to the surviving family members. Damages may be recovered for the pain and suffering inflicted upon the deceased, as well as for the sorrow, grief, and mental anguish suffered by the surviving family members.

In order to file a wrongful death claim, you often must be able to prove that:

  1. The liable party did in fact cause the death
  2. Had the victim lived, they would have been able to file a personal injury claim for the injuries sustained from the accident

It is important to reiterate that in many states, only the surviving spouse or next of kin can file a wrongful death claim. If your loved one was someone whom you depended on for financial support, you may be worrying about how you will support your family. There also may be cremation and burial expenses, as well as medical bills to consider. Damages from a wrongful death claim or lawsuit can also include expenses related to the death, loss of benefits and future income, loss of companionship, and possibly punitive damages. This is why it is so important that you retain the services of a personal injury law firm that knows who you can sue and how to obtain the maximum recovery possible for your case.

There are many factors to take into consideration when calculating who you can sue in a wrongful death claim, including the age of the decedent when he or she died, the relationship of the plaintiffs to the deceased, and how much income your loved one would have earned had he or she worked until retirement. Additionally, if you wait until the statute of limitations for your wrongful death claim has run out you may not be able to collect for damages in order to pay your bills.

So really…Who can I sue?

Wrongful death lawsuits are often brought against a plethora of people—employees, corporations, and government agencies. For example, in a boating accident involving faulty marina equipment and an inebriated boat captain, a wrongful death action might include defendants such as:

  • The captain or employer at fault in the boating accident
  • A government agent who failed to provide adequate warnings regarding the hazard that caused the accident
  • The designer, manufacturer, distributor, or installer of a faulty or dangerous equipment
  • The persons who sold, served or gave alcohol to the impaired captain
  • The owner of the place where the alcohol was served

If you are still wondering, “Who can I sue?”, retain Malman Law as your personal injury law firm. We will be happy to discuss your case with you and explore your options.