Wrongful Death and the Rights of the “Real Parties in Interest”

When natural disasters strike, besides damaging properties, these can also harm and injure people. Those affected can seek help from the state and can apply for benefits from their insurance provider to be able to recover from any losses. Though painful, victims can do nothing much since the destruction was through the act of Mother Nature; they can only prepare in order to hopefully reduce the amount and extent of damages and harm the next time another disaster hits them.

If the injury, however, happened due to other people’s recklessness or negligence, the simple thought of their thoughtlessness about your safety, thus, your injury, somehow makes the suffering more painful to bear due to feelings of anger or frustration.

There are different ways by which a person may be harmed or injured; some of these include; a motor vehicle accident, product defect, slip and fall accident, job-related accident and dental or medical malpractice. Worse than a severe injury which a person may sustain through gross negligence, though, is wrongful or untimely death. Whatever the effect of the harm committed against any person due to a reckless or negligent act, such harm will be called tortious act or civil offense and, under the law, the tortfeasor, that is, the person or firm which caused the injury, is legally required to compensate the victim for whatever damages he or she has been and will be subjected to.

In the event of the victim’s death a representative acting on behalf of the deceased’s survivors, also known as real parties in interest, can file a wrongful death claim or lawsuit. States have different stipulation with regard to who these real parties in interest could be:

  • The immediate family members: refers to spouses, children and adopted children. For unmarried individuals, immediate family would refer to parents;
  • Financial dependents, putative spouses or life partners: some states consider those who were financially dependent on the deceased, like a life or domestic partner, as among the real parties in interest. Some states also include a “putative spouse, ” or a person who, in good faith, believes that he or she and the deceased were married;
  • Distant family members: there are some states which consider grandparents, brothers and sisters as qualified to file wrongful death claims;
  • All those suffering financially: this stipulation covers anyone who is financially affected and made to suffer by the victim’s death; this is actually due to the loss of care or support resulting from death;
  • Parents of a deceased fetus: there are states that consider the fetus’ death a basis for a wrongful death claim. Other states, however, maintain that wrongful death lawsuits may only be filed by parents whose child was born, but died shortly after birth.

Most legal advisors, such as the team at the Law Offices of Williams Kherkher, suggest that you hire the services of a highly competent legal counsel who will be able to advise you with regard to your legal rights or the rights of the family of the deceased, as well as how to fight for such rights.

Learn More