According to the Cornell Law School Legal Information Institute a wrongful death is “a death caused by the wrongful act of another, either accidentally or intentionally. A claim for wrongful death is made by a family member of a deceased person to obtain compensation for having to live without that person. The compensation is intended to cover the earnings and the emotional comfort and support the deceased person would have provided.” A wrongful death claim applies when a person’s death is the legal fault of another person. Further, it was noted that such claims result from negligence or intentional acts. These claims can be filed alongside other personal injury claims such as bodily injury, property damage, etc.
Real Parties Interest
The term “real parties in interest” was established to refer to survivors of the deceased who can make a wrongful death claim. However, such survivors vary from one state to another.
An important aspect of filing a wrongful death claim is who the likely defendants are. This is important as defendants are the parties that pay compensation to the plaintiff. The reality is that wrongful death lawsuits can be filed against a number of people and/or companies. This includes:
- government agencies and their employees.
For example: in a car accident that is caused by a road hazard (e.g. potholes, uneven road, etc.) and a driver under the influence. A wrongful death claim may be filed with the following defendants, the:
- driver or the employer that are at fault
- faulty road designer or builder
- government agency who failed to ensure the presence of suitable warnings regarding the road hazard
- persons who sold, served, or gave alcohol to the impaired driver
- owner of the premises where the alcohol was served or purchased
All the above makeup likely defendants in a car accident that results in wrongful death.