Understanding Your Rights After a Wrongful Death

Understanding Your Rights After a Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death report and gavel in a court.

In 2020, the fatality rate for workers was 3.4 for every 100,000 workers in the US. Research also showed that exactly 4,764 US workers passed away on the job.

There are many instances where you may be able to file a wrongful death. As a family member or a loved one, these are details you want to understand.

There are certain requirements for a wrongful death claim. It is also a good idea to hire a wrongful death law firm to help you with the details.

I am sharing this article because I write a lot about how to live longer in my book Life is Long. Dealing with death is often a subject people tend to avoid. We need to have more open conversations about it – especially if there’s a wrongful death. With this in mind I bring you this helpful guide.

Keep reading to find out how to file a wrongful death lawsuit and what your rights are.

What is a Wrongful Death?

A wrongful death is described as being a legal claim after someone has passed away. The surviving family members can file this claim to get compensation.

This can be done if the person died from negligent or intentional acts. One example of this is someone dying in the hospital from a lack of correct medical care.

Or they may have died at work because the company was negligent with security measures. These are instances where you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Negligence or Damages

You may have a case if someone died from obvious negligence. This could be from someone recklessly driving or failing to put up security measures.

You will need to have proof of this negligence to prove your case.

Causation or Breach of Duty

Other examples include causation which shows what caused the person’s death. This is like negligence, as you must prove that someone or something caused the fatality.

For instance, a company may not have put up wet floor signs. This could result in a worker slipping resulting in a fatal injury.

Another reason for a lawsuit includes a breach of duty. You will have to prove that someone or something had a duty to the person who is now deceased.

Some examples include a driver who had a duty to follow speeding rules. Or a hospital had a duty to provide accurate medical care for a patient.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death attorney will tell you if you can file a lawsuit. It isn’t only about having proof or a reason for the lawsuit in a wrongful death.

You also have to be directly related or connected to the deceased in some way. Otherwise, you would not qualify for any kind of compensation from a lawsuit.

Here are some examples of people who could file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of another.

Immediate Family

A lawyer for wrongful death can help you if you are the immediate family. This includes children as well as a legally binding spouse.

These are the first people who would have access to any kind of compensation. That includes compensation for emotional or financial losses.

Distant Family

There are cases where a distant family member may also file a lawsuit. This usually is dependent on the caregiving arrangements of the family.

A distant family member could include distant siblings or grandparents.


The deceased may have had financial dependence. These are people who may have been financially dependent on their income.

A financial dependent could be children that are over the age of 18. It could also include adults with disabilities who cannot fend for themselves.


Couples do not necessarily have to be legally married for one to file a wrongful death. The law recognizes those who are considered to be common-law couples or putative spouses.

There may be some restrictions that apply to this for life partners to be recognized. This may vary by state or depending on the particular situation.


In the instance of a child dying, parents may get compensation. A wrongful death may happen if a newborn dies in the hospital due to negligence.

Or a child may be fatally injured by a reckless driver. These are all instances where parents can hire a wrongful death lawyer to bring their case forward.

Wrongful Death Compensation Options

A big part of filing a wrongful death lawsuit is compensation. There is no shame in wanting compensation since there are several reasons why this may be necessary.

Here are some examples of the types of situations that could allow for wrongful death compensation.


You may be able to claim compensation for emotional damage. You may have mental distress from a loved one’s sudden and preventable death.

Or you may be suffering from nervous shock or stress. You could also apply for punitive damages if the defendant caused egregious or reprehensible damage.


Loved ones may also be able to get compensation due to financial losses. A spouse may have suffered a loss of income when their loved one passed away.

Children or dependents may be left without financial stability as well. There could also be a financial loss from medical bills or funeral bills.

Any expenses linked to the death could be considered financial losses.


You may be awarded compensation if you depended on the deceased. You may currently have depended on them or would have been financially dependent on them in the future.

This also applies to companionship and loss of care. This could apply to any situation where a loved one passes away wrongfully.

A Guide to Wrongful Death

If a loved one has died a wrongful death, you may have a claim. You could hire a wrongful death attorney to help you file this lawsuit to get compensation.

Resources to Help You Move On

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can help you get the closure and justice you need. For emotional support to heal from a loss, check out my online course The Anxiety Cure.

Think happier. Think calmer.

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