Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

November 15, 2016 — by Mark T. Flickinger, JD
Tags: Wrongful Death

A family at a gravesiteA wrongful death lawsuit is filed when someone is killed as a result of the negligence of another person or party. The loved ones of the deceased file the lawsuit in order to recover damages. These damages will cover funerary expenses, emotional pain and suffering, and other financial or material hardships associated with the death. In addition, punitive damages will be sought to punish the negligent party for their actions.

The attorneys at our Provo law firm would like to consider who is eligible to file these kinds of lawsuits, and why it's important to have an attorney on your side.

Who Is Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

In the state of Utah, the following people are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit:

  • The surviving spouse of the deceased
  • The surviving adult children of the deceased
  • The surviving birth parents of the deceased
  • The surviving adoptive parents of the deceased
  • Other surviving relatives of the deceased depending on Utah inheritance law

In addition, personal representatives of the deceased's estate can potentially file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Why This Is the Case

These laws on who is allowed to file wrongful death lawsuits help ensure that relatives and heirs of the deceased are able to seek damages. They prevent people who have no interest in the deceased and their interests from filing a lawsuit and attempting to recover damages for their own financial benefit.

Are There Exceptions to These Laws?

There are some exceptions to the above, but they might be rare. Sometimes the internal working of families and relations to the deceased can be complicated, and lead to a number of disagreements about who should file. In such cases, these matters can be discussed with skilled wrongful death attorneys who can help determine the best interests for various parties involved, particularly those with close ties to the deceased.

Remember: File Within the Statute of Limitations

In addition to restrictions on who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, there are also time limits to consider. These are known as the statute of limitations. In Utah, the statute of limitations in a wrongful death lawsuit is two years from the date of the death of a loved one; the statute of limitations is one year from the date of the death of a loved one if a government entity is responsible for the loved one's death.

Failure to file a wrongful death lawsuit within this time means that legal action cannot be pursued in the future.

How Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help You

There are many complexities to consider when it comes to wrongful death litigation. One also needs to consider the emotional strain and difficulty associated with wrongful death lawsuits, and the toll it can take on a family.

By working with a wrongful death attorney, you will receive the expert legal counsel you need to see you through this difficult time. Your wrongful death attorney will offer peace of mind while dealing with the complicated legal workings involved in a case, giving you and your loved ones the time and emotional space to grieve and consider the challenges of the future.

Speak with Experienced Wrongful Death Attorneys

For more information about your legal rights and options, be sure to contact our team of personal injury attorneys today. We will work with you and help you in your time of legal need.