Losing someone in a car accident can cause more than just emotional grief. The person who died in a fatal accident may have been the primary financial support in your household and you are now faced with financial hardship you were not expecting. When the death is caused by carelessness or negligence, the pain is even deeper as you know that your loved one’s death could have been prevented.
Each state has specific laws regarding who may file a wrongful death lawsuit after a fatal car accident. In Pennsylvania, a wrongful death claim is brought on behalf of the heirs of the person who dies. Under the law, the personal representative of the deceased person must file the claim, although if they do not do so within six months, any person entitled to share in damages may file a claim.
In Delaware, wrongful death claims may be filed by the spouse, parent, child and siblings of the person who died, even if the child was born out of wedlock or the parents are no longer married as well as half-siblings. If no child, spouse or parent has survived, anyone who is related to the deceased by blood or marriage may file a claim.
In New Jersey, wrongful death claims are normally filed by the personal representative or executor of the estate, but only those who are dependent on or entitled to inherit under state law may entitled to receiving any lawsuit proceeds.
In order to qualify for a wrongful death claim, according to fatal accident attorneys, the fatal car accident must have been caused by a wrongful act, neglect or fault of another. One way that states explain whether a death qualifies for a wrongful death claim is to equate it to a personal injury claim. If the person who died could file a personal injury claim had they survived, you are probably eligible for a wrongful death claim.
There are time limits for filing a wrongful death claim, known as statute of limitations. Each state has their own statute of limitations for all types of lawsuits. In New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Delaware, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the death. If the claim is filed more than two years after the death, the court will automatically dismiss the case.
If you have lost a loved one in a car accident, contact the fatal car accident attorneys at Lundy Law today to learn whether you qualify for a wrongful death claim. You can arrange an initial, no obligation consultation by calling 1-800-Lundy Law or completing the simple form on our website.