When a loved one dies suddenly, it can take a serious emotional toll. Death is never easy, especially when it happens as a result of an accident. Negligent behavior that causes an injury falls under the personal injury section of the law. If that injury results in death, the claim may continue towards a wrongful death claim. Discover who can file this type of claim and in what circumstances it is relevant.

The basis for wrongful death

Before anything can occur, there needs to exist a foundation for a wrongful death claim. The easiest way to determine if a situation warrants this type of action is if it would have fit a claim for personal injury. The person who caused the accident needed to exhibit some degree of negligence causing the incident. Had the person survived, there is a decent chance he or she would have filed for a personal injury claim. Thus, a wrongful death claim is applicable.

The people who can file

In general, a wrongful death claim can come from a direct heir or beneficiary of the deceased’s estate. This includes spouses, children (natural or adopted), siblings and parents. However, not every heir can file a wrongful death suit. There is a hierarchy, and it usually starts with the deceased’s immediate family unit, such as a spouse and children, typically those who relied on the deceased for more than half their care may also file suit.

Some wrongful death suits may have begun as personal injury claims. However, if the person dies during the process, it converts to wrongful death, and the heirs resume the proceedings in this fashion.