Wrongful Death Law FAQ

1. Q. What is wrongful death law?

A. Wrongful death law governs the statutes which are put into place to protect the rights of survivors of individuals who have died due to negligence or error by another individual or company.

2. Q. Who may file a wrongful death suit?

A. Typically, if someone has died a wrongful death, his or her spouse or children may file a wrongful death suit. The law is different depending upon what state you're in, so it's important to seek information from a wrongful death law expert – preferably an attorney.

3. Q. Is there a time limit to file for a wrongful death suit?

A. In each state, there are different statutes of limitations or the time in which someone must file a wrongful death suit after the death has occurred. It's important to determine your own state's laws because if the statute of limitations passes, you could be prevented from filing a suit altogether.

4. Q. Does the family immunity doctrine prevent one family member from suing another in a wrongful death case?

A. It depends upon your own state's laws. In some areas, one family member cannot sue another family member for a wrongful death. However, there are some exceptions to the rule. For this reason, an attorney knowledgeable in wrongful death law should be contacted.

5. Q. What if the only survivors are children who are minors? Can they sue for wrongful death?

A. A minor himself cannot sue in most places; however they could sue with the help and guidance of a guardian ad litem. This could be another family member or an attorney – depending upon your own state's laws.

6. Q. What kinds of damages can be sought in wrongful death lawsuits?

A. There are many different types of damages that may be sought – but the laws are different from state to state. Some of the damages might include the funeral and medical expenses of the deceased, pain and suffering of the survivors, loss of medical care or pension plans, loss of inheritance and punitive damages.

7. Q. When should a wrongful death attorney be hired?

A. A wrongful death attorney should be hired as soon as it is learned that the death was a result of negligence or error. This is important because attorneys know the laws in-depth – they may have information that could help your case that you may not be aware of.

8. Q. What happens if survivors who are suing for wrongful death die before the lawsuit is completed?

A. Typically, these survivors' next of kin or family members are able to take up the lawsuit for them. Although, the laws are different depending upon which state you're in. You should research these laws or speak to an attorney who can help you.

9. Q. What sort of situations might merit a wrongful death lawsuit?

A. A wrongful death lawsuit might be brought against a doctor or medical professional who was neglectful or made an error. Another type of wrongful death may occur when a person dies during an activity that is being supervised, exposure to fatal or deadly chemicals or substances during work, or when a person dies due to criminal activity of someone else. There are other situations, so make sure you research thoroughly.

10. Q. How can I find out about my own state's laws regarding wrongful deaths?

A. You can speak to an attorney in your state that is knowledgeable about wrongful death laws. You can also research yourself by calling knowledgeable individuals or using the internet as a resource.

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