Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that seeks to hold a person or entity liable for causing the death of another person. The lawsuit is typically brought by the surviving family members of the deceased person and seeks compensation for their losses. Here are some things you should know about wrongful death lawsuits:

Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

The specific rules for who can file a wrongful death lawsuit vary by jurisdiction. Generally, the immediate family members of the deceased person, such as a spouse, children, or parents, may be eligible to file a lawsuit. In some cases, other individuals, such as a personal representative or executor of the deceased person's estate, may also be able to file a lawsuit.

Types of damages

The damages that may be available in a wrongful death lawsuit can include compensation for medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income, lost companionship, and other losses. Depending on the circumstances, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages can be appropriate when the harm done was egregious. 

Burden of proof

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the burden of proof is on the plaintiff to show that the defendant was negligent or acted intentionally and that this negligence or intentional act caused the death of the deceased person.

Statute of limitations 

The statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit varies by jurisdiction. Generally, there is a limited period of time within which a lawsuit must be filed after the death of the person. Speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to avoid problems with running out of time. 


In many cases, wrongful death lawsuits are settled outside of court through negotiations between the parties involved. A settlement may include a monetary award to the plaintiffs in exchange for their agreement not to pursue the lawsuit further.

Importance of legal representation

Wrongful death lawsuits can be difficult for loved ones. It's important to find an attorney that cares about the outcome of your case so that you can achieve the right result.

It's important to note that the laws regarding wrongful death lawsuits can vary by jurisdiction, and the information provided here is general in nature. If you believe you may have a wrongful death case, it's important to consult with an experienced attorney who can advise you on your legal rights and options. Contact a law firm like Sapp Law Firm to learn more.