When Should You File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When Should You File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

There are many reasons that people may want to file a wrongful death lawsuit after they lose a loved one in an accident. People may feel that they need a sense of closure and financial justice.

If you lose a loved one in an accident caused by someone else, your best wrongful death attorney will try to get you compensation for some or all of the following:

  • Lost earnings of the deceased
  • Lost support and services from the deceased
  • Lost companionship and comfort
  • A lost inheritance that you would have gotten if the deceased had lived
  • Mental and emotional pain and suffering

Many of these financial losses cannot be quantified, so how much you can get in your recovery depends on the case and the skill of your best wrongful death attorney.

Who Can Sue In A Wrongful Death Case?

Not all loved ones can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The laws of your state detail which parties can get a financial recovery for wrongful death.

Generally, the following family members can file a wrongful death lawsuit, but who is eligible varies by state:

  • Spouse or partner
  • Parents
  • Children

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against any person or entity that caused the death of your loved one. In some situations, you can even bring a wrongful death lawsuit against the local, state, or federal government.

You also can file a wrongful death lawsuit after auto accidents, as well as those that involve medical malpractice or defective products.

When Can You File Your Claim?

After a tragic death and loss, it’s understandable that the family will want to take weeks or months to grieve and put their lives back together. But you should remember there is a timeline for filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

All states have a statute of limitations that states how long after the death you have to file the lawsuit. In Texas, for example, you have only two years to file the case from the date of death.

For example. If your loved one was in a car accident and was in the hospital for three months and passed away, the two-year clock starts on the day they passed away after being in the hospital.

Two years sounds like a very long time. But filing a successful case requires months of preparation and paperwork, including meeting court deadlines. There also needs to be enough time for the court to rule there is a valid wrongful death claim.

It is normal for the other party to contest that they were responsible for the death, so this also can take time.

Thus, it’s vital to give the best wrongful death attorney enough time to investigate the case. They will need time to ID who may have been negligent, collect evidence, and draft a petition with the best chance for success.

If you think you have a possible wrongful death claim, you should connect with a good attorney as soon as you can.

Some states also allow you to make a survivorship claim, which is different than a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a legal claim that the deceased’s estate makes. This allows the estate to recover damages, including medical bills, funeral costs, and pain and suffering that the decedent suffered before or during their death.

Your attorney can tell you the difference between a wrongful death lawsuit and a survivorship claim.

Now that you understand the various aspects of a wrongful death lawsuit, you can work with your attorney to decide if it is time to file a claim. 

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