An accident resulting in the wrongful death of someone, leaves the family with two legal claims as remedy. These are survival actions and wrongful death claims. This article and a subsequent one will discuss common issues addressed in state wrongful death laws in general.
Common Issues in Wrongful Death Laws
Wrongful death lawsuits are strictly governed by state law; therefore, each state has their own specific laws and procedures. However, there are some common issues found in all state wrongful-death laws. Some of these include the following:
- Which persons are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased’s estate?
- How a person is appointed to represent the estate
- The types of damages provided for in a wrongful death case
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
It must be noted that each dependent isn’t allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit in behalf of the deceased. The personal representative of the estate is the one with the right to file the lawsuit. This personal representative is often the closest surviving relative of the deceased. This may be the spouse, child or parent of the deceased. Generally, the family agrees as to who should be the personal representative. However, if there is no will or family members don’t agree on a representative; the court decides on the representative.
Personal Representative Appointment
Appointment of a personal representative must be by the state court handling wills and estates. This is normally called the Probate Court. An individual may seek to be made a personal representative of the deceased estate. However, if an objection arises, the court has a hearing and decides who can best represent the deceased’s estates interests.
Speak to your local attorney to find out your state law with regards to wrongful death claims and survival actions. Additionally, contact the Vinson Law Office for free first consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.