Tragic accidents happen. Sadly, many of these tragic accidents can pit family members against each other. Here's how a wrongful death lawyer can help you file suit when a family member is involved.
Next of Kin
Who has the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on a behalf of a deceased loved one? This thorny question can be made even more complex when family members argue and/or sue each other.
In cases involving minor children, the legal guardians have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim. If the legal guardians are divorced or separated, each individual has the right to file separately, however, these cases are often adjudicated jointly. Thus, if each parent or guardian files a separate lawsuit on behalf of a minor in their care, they will be forced to split any settlement reached in the case. If possible, agreeing to be represented by a single wrongful death lawyer can cut the legal fees in half.
In cases involving unmarried adults. A wrongful death lawyer will first need to examine the last will and testament of the deceased individual. If no will exists and/or no individual is named as the primary benefactor in the will, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by anyone holding claim to the estate. For instance, a longtime partner, surviving sibling, parent, or child can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim. These lawsuits can include wrongful death damages and begin the process of allocating the assets of the estate left by the victim.
Filing Against Family
Fatal accidents involving family members are tragic on so many levels. Your wrongful death lawyer can help you file suit while distancing you from the potentially messy family drama.
Motor Vehicle Accidents
The majority of wrongful death cases involving family members stem from motor vehicle crashes and accidents. In cases where a family member was cited in a fatal motor vehicle accident, they can also be sued for wrongful death damages. Although suing a family member might seem unthinkable and even treasonous, most of the time, you aren't suing a family member, you're suing their insurance provider. Your wrongful death lawyer can seek damages from the insurance company at your discretion. If a settlement can be reached before the case goes to trial, your family can be spared the prospect of testifying against each other in court.