A wrongful death lawsuit against someone, or a separate entity like a car company, is usually filed by survivors on behalf of the victim or his estate.
But who can sue, and what are the damages that can make up a wrongful death suit?
According to the Nolo.com website, the lawsuit may come about due to a number of circumstances that caused the death, from medical malpractice, car accidents and even instances of product liability.
At its core, such lawsuits can be brought against individuals, a company—or even a government agency—if the death was caused 1) intentionally or 2) by negligence, or when “failing to act as a reasonable person would have acted.”
Who may sue? Breaking it down…
Those filing the wrongful death suit are referred to as the “real parties in interest,” and may include, but not be limited to, the following parties: Immediate family, life partners and financial dependents; distant family members; all who’ve “suffered financially.”
Who may be sued?
The defendants in such cases might be more than an individual deemed at fault. For example, in a car accident that caused a death, defendants can run the gamut, from the driver, or employer, who’s considered at fault; the builder of a “faulty roadway;” people who served, sold or gave alcohol to an “impaired driver, or the owner of the establishment who served the alcohol.
Immunity does exist…
In some instances, employees of government agencies are immune from a wrongful death suit: It varies from state-to-state. As an example, recent federal law provides immunity to defendants in railroad collisions as well as some product liability cases when certain medical devices are in question.