Who is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Wrongful Death

Death is an inevitable part of life, but it can be especially devastating when it occurs due to someone else's negligence or wrongful actions. In such cases, the surviving family members may have the right to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party. However, not everyone is eligible to file such a claim.

1. Immediate Family Members

The immediate family members of the deceased are typically the ones who have standing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes spouses, children (both biological and adopted), and parents (if they were financially dependent on the deceased). In some states, siblings may also be eligible to file a claim. However, distant relatives like cousins or grandparents usually cannot bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

2. Financial Dependents

Even if you are not related by blood or marriage, you may still be eligible to file a wrongful death claim if you were financially dependent on the deceased person. For example, if you lived with your partner for years and relied on them for financial support, you may have grounds to sue for damages.

3. Estate Executor/Administrator

In some cases, neither immediate family members nor financial dependents may be able to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. Instead, the estate executor or administrator may need to file on behalf of the deceased person's estate. This often happens when there are no surviving family members or when the family members waive their right to sue.

4. Minors

If the person who died was a minor child, their parents would have standing to bring a wrongful death lawsuit. However, in some states where parental rights have been terminated due to abuse or neglect issues, grandparents or other legal guardians may be able to sue instead.

Chesterfield Wrongful Death Lawyer

At Nichols Lang & Hamlin, we understand the deep emotional and financial toll that the wrongful death of a loved one can take on a family. Our compassionate team of legal professionals is dedicated to guiding Chesterfield, MO, residents through the complexities of filing a wrongful death claim. If you are seeking expert legal counsel to navigate this challenging time, contact us at (314) 309-2301. Let us help you honor the memory of your loved one and pursue the justice and compensation you deserve.