Survivors of a deceased individual can file a wrongful death claim to seek compensation for their losses. A successful wrongful death claim can result in financial compensation that can be used to pay for things like lost wages from the deceased, loss of companionship, and funeral expenses. It doesn’t matter if the person’s death was intentional or caused by reckless acts, the surviving party of the deceased can still choose to file a wrongful death claim. Below, we talk about who can make a wrongful death claim.
What Parties Can File a Claim?
Wrongful death claims have to be filed by a representative of the surviving party. This includes:
- Immediate Family Members of the Deceased
- Distant Family Members of the Deceased
- Life Partners, Financial Dependents, & Putative Spouses
If the deceased individual is a minor child, a parent can usually file the wrongful death claim. While families sometimes argue about which member can file the lawsuit, courts will usually only allow one wrongful death claim to be brought on behalf of the deceased. When two claims are filed, courts will generally consolidate both claims into a single lawsuit.
The filing period for wrongful death claims varies from state to state, but is usually no shorter than one year from the time of the decedent's death. However, if the wrongful death claim involves the government or a government employee, the survivor might need to file a "notice of claim" with the government within 90 days. Waiting too long to file a wrongful death lawsuit or failing to comply with pre-lawsuit notice requirements can result in losing the right to seek a legal remedy for the deceased party’s death.
Do you need help filing a wrongful death claim? Contact our San Jose team of wrongful death attorneys to set up your free consultation today.