Wrongful Death Cases When The Negligent Party Is Also Deceased

Posted on: 13 August 2020


If your loved one passes away as a result of the negligence of another party, you may be able to sue that party successfully for compensation depending on your relationship to the deceased. However, in some cases, the individual responsible for the accident is also deceased. This often happens in car accident cases where the negligent party causes their own death. If this occurs, you may still sue the estate of the deceased with the help of a wrongful death attorney or seek compensation through other means.

The Statute of Limitations

A statute of limitations for a wrongful death case can be different when the individual you're seeking compensation from is deceased. Therefore, you'll want to speak with a wrongful death attorney about how the statute of limitations will affect your particular case.

The Estate

When seeking compensation from the deceased, you will be suing the estate. This refers to the property that was left behind and that would normally be distributed according to the will. There will usually be a probate court proceeding unless the deceased chose to pass everything outside of probate through a living trust or some other means. 

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

The executor of the estate is responsible for contacting you about the death and must also inform you about the deadline if you choose to file a claim. However, if you do not receive a notice of the death, you are still allowed to file a claim. In extreme cases, you may be able to file a claim against anyone who inherits from the wrongful party that is deceased. However, you will want to speak with a wrongful death attorney before pursuing this action.

To be able to file a claim, however, you must have a specific relationship with the deceased. For example, you may be:

  • A spouse
  • A child
  • A parent

In some states, additional parties may be able to file for a wrongful death such as a grandchild. The executor of the estate may also file on behalf of the deceased victim, and you may receive compensation if you are in the will of the deceased, regardless of who you are. 

The executor of the estate is able to sue for damages such as pain and suffering. This is to account for the suffering that the deceased experienced after passing away. After a successful lawsuit, the damages awarded would become a part of the estate. 

To learn more about wrongful death legalities, contact a company like Paul R Bennet PC.