When someone suffers fatal injuries because of negligence, it prompts a potential lawsuit. However, every state has specific laws regarding wrongful death lawsuits and who may file one to seek compensation. The statutes in each state will detail who can file the lawsuit, and speaking with an attorney can give you a clear understanding of your options.
Most states rely on one of two systems:
- The Lord Campbell System
- The Loss-to-Estate System
It’s vital to understand how they work and what these mean for you.
The Lord Campbell System
The Lord Campbell System allows specific beneficiaries to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. The statute designates parties who may file suit based on their relation to the deceased individual. Here are some of the different people who can file a wrongful death lawsuit under this system.
- Surviving members of the immediate family: This includes surviving spouses, children, parents, and adopted children.
- Surviving distant family members: Including siblings and grandparents if no spouses, children, parents, or adopted children exist.
- Domestic or life partners: Those who are not married but have a domestic partnership.
- Financial dependents: Someone who the deceased may have taken care of financially while they were alive.
The Loss-to-Estate System
Some states only allow a person’s estate to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The probate court may designate someone as a personal representative of the estate who would administer assets. That personal representative can file the wrongful death lawsuit to pursue compensation. The amount recovered may go through distribution as designated by a special trust or will.
Our wrongful death attorneys at Lowe Law Group can help you understand your rights. Trust that we’ll be your advocates to hold negligence accountable and pursue the rightful compensation you deserve. We know how challenging this time can be for you, and we work to obtain the most favorable outcome possible when you deserve it most. Let us help you!