A death in the family can be a terrible and stressful thing. It can be even worse if your loved one's death is due to the negligence or inaction of other people. If that happens, you can visit an attorney to file a wrongful death suit and sue the person, or persons, who are responsible for your loved one's death. If you are thinking about filing for a wrongful death suit, there are a few things that you need to know first.
One of the things that you need to know about filing one of these cases is that you have to have the right standing in order to file it. Standing means that you have the right kind of relationship with the person who died. In this case, having standing means that you are the spouse or partner of the person who died, the parent of a minor child, or a guardian to minor children on whose behalf you are filing.
Some states allow other people who have a close relationship with the person who died. For example, in some states, a business partner can have the standing to bring a wrongful death suit. So, if you are just a friend of the person who died, you likely don't have the standing to bring a case. Your attorney can help you figure out if you have standing and if you can file a case.
Death because of a crime can be counted as wrongful death. It doesn't matter if the person who committed the crime is found to be guilty or not guilty because civil and criminal courts don't carry the same burdens. In a criminal court, the state has to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that the person is guilty, so all the onus is on the state to prove that the accused did it. In civil court, the defendant carries the majority of the burden of proof. The plaintiff has to show their evidence and their proof that the defendant is responsible for the death, and then the defendant has to prove that they weren't negligent and it wasn't their fault.
A death in the family can cause all kinds of problems, including serious financial hardship. If you have had someone in your family die because of the negligence of others, you should visit an attorney and talk to them about whether or not you meet all the requirements to file a wrongful death case. Reach out to a local law firm, such as Burnett and Williams, to learn more.