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Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?

A fatal trucking accident affects countless people. The parents, spouse, children and friends of the victim may all feel the unimaginable devastation that so often accompanies the loss of a loved one.

When an accident that results in death was caused by negligence, those close to the victim may feel the need to seek recompense through a wrongful death lawsuit. But who is allowed to file such a claim?

According to the law, you must have "standing" in order to file a lawsuit. In short, that means you must have incurred some sort of harm -- typically financial in nature -- to file a lawsuit. Harm may include loss of financial support, funeral costs, medical expenses and a lost inheritance. The purpose of a wrongful death award is to help those affected by the death cope with immediate and future financial losses.

Texas law is specific about who can file a wrongful death claim. In our state, it is limited to immediate family members who suffer harm after the death of a loved one. Depending on the decedent's situation at the time of his or her death, his or her children, parents or spouse could file a wrongful death claim. Siblings, however, cannot.

If you are considering seeking compensation after the death of a loved one, an experienced lawyer can help you better understand if you are eligible to file and whether you have a strong case.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death: Who Can File?" Deanne Katz, Esq., Feb. 27, 2013

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