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Personal Injury Lawyer
After someone dies because of another person’s negligence, the family of the deceased can often file a wrongful death lawsuit. There are some important things you should know before filing your lawsuit, and a lawyer can help you understand the specifics of your case. The following information should get you started.
There Is a Statute of Limitations
Every state puts a limit on the amount of time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This time limit is known as the statute of limitations. In one state, you could have five years to get your suit filed, and in a neighboring state, the limit might be set at two years. It’s important you understand this so you are able to get compensation without forfeiting your right.
Your Lawyer Can Help
You don’t have to try to file a wrongful death lawsuit on your own. There are attorneys specifically trained in the area of wrongful death, and they can help you put the claim together. A wrongful death attorney can help you gather the right evidence, collect medical bills and other proof of damages, and get it filed with the court before the statute of limitations is up.
There Are Certain People Allowed to File the Lawsuit
If your neighbor dies and you feel it was a suspicious death at the hands of another neighbor, you can’t sue the individual you feel was responsible for the death. That right is reserved for designated beneficiaries of the deceased. Each state has specified who those beneficiaries are for that specific state, and there is a list of certain individuals in the case the first beneficiary doesn’t work out. For example, the designated beneficiaries could include:
- Spouses, children, parents (if the deceased was unmarried) and adopted children
- Grandparents and siblings
- Domestic partners
- Other financial dependents
If the deceased was married, the spouse would typically file the lawsuit. If he or she was divorced, a grown child could file. If the deceased was unmarried, had no children, and was preceded in death by both parents, his or her sibling could file the lawsuit. You can see how the system works down the line of beneficiaries until someone is able to make the claim.
Some States Require the Estate To Bring the Claim
There are a handful of states that do not allow beneficiaries to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Instead, the decedent’s estate does so, and it is meant to compensate for losses to the estate as a whole.
Contact Your Attorney for Help Getting Started
If you’re considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit because your loved one died as a result of negligence, your attorney can help you get started. Contact a wrongful death lawyer, like Patterson Bray, today.