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Wrongful Death: Who Can File a Suit and How Long Do They Have?

News / November 7, 2023

Wrongful death cases are almost always stressful, as they heavily involve the family members of someone whose life was taken due to another individual’s negligence. If you’re a close friend or family member of the person who lost their life, you may wonder who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. You’re also likely to wonder how long someone would have to submit documents and formally file. Very few individuals often have the right to file a wrongful death suit.

A spouse will have the whole first year after the individual’s death to file a wrongful death lawsuit, and they will hold exclusive rights. Children may file if there is no surviving spouse or if the spouse fails to file within the first year following the death. When there are no children, the deceased individual’s parents can file a wrongful death suit. Generally, other individuals are not permitted to file a wrongful death suit. If you have additional questions about your wrongful death case, please schedule a free consultation with an attorney from Hollis Law Firm. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?

In most circumstances, the deceased individual’s spouse will have the right to take legal action through a wrongful death suit. After a certain amount of time, children or parents may also take action, with the deceased’s kids taking priority. 

How Long Does the Spouse Have? 

For the first year after death, only the spouse has the legal right to file a wrongful death suit for their deceased partner. After this point, within the two-year statute of limitations, they may also choose to file. However, the spouse will no longer have exclusive rights after the first year has ended, and they are encouraged to file sooner, not later.

How Long Does the Remainder of the Family Have to File?

Children and parents of the deceased have the right to file after a year has passed or as soon as the death occurs if there is no surviving spouse. Children take priority over the parents of the deceased. This means it may be more difficult for parents to take legal action if there are surviving children.

Regardless of the circumstances, we recommend you work with a lawyer for support. Spouses will also benefit from retaining a wrongful death attorney during this time. Your lawyer will be able to handle complex tasks during an already difficult period, and they’ll also be better equipped to maximize the compensation you’ll be able to receive.

What About Executors and Other Estate Representatives?

In many states, executors and trustees of the estate or will cannot file for wrongful death lawsuits. However, they have the right to file a survival action, which is different. An alternative type of lawyer and strategy may be more beneficial if you are in the position to take this legal route.

What Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Do to Help?

A wrongful death lawyer can help with your claims in several ways, and we encourage you to work with a legal representative whenever involved in court matters. Your wrongful death attorney from Hollis Law Firm can manage paperwork, communicate with insurance companies and party representatives, hold the liable individuals accountable, and speak on your behalf.

We strongly recommend you refrain from representing yourself during legal matters, including those related to wrongful death. Self-representation can often result in less-than-ideal results, including reduced compensation, losing the claim, lengthened legal proceedings, and increased stress. Retaining a Hollis Law Firm wrongful death lawyer makes you far more likely to be treated fairly and receive the compensation you need to maintain the family’s financial state and stability.

Reduce Stress With Your Wrongful Death Claims: Retain a Lawyer From Hollis Law Firm

If you want to file a wrongful death suit and retrieve compensation because of the loss of someone you love, you don’t have to manage this substantial legal battle alone. When you retain support from a Hollis Law Firm wrongful death lawyer, we can handle various tasks and take the burdens off your shoulders. Our clients trust us to bring outstanding results during challenging times, and we can do the same for you in your time of need.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance. You can schedule a free consultation with one of our talented and dedicated attorneys when you reach us. At that point, we can discuss any questions, concerns, strategies, and additional information pertaining to your case. Reach us when you call (800) 701-3672 or complete the contact form on our website.