Survivors’ Recourse

When a person dies as a result of another person’s negligence or wrongdoing, the surviving members of the victim’s family may sue for “wrongful death.” A wrongful death lawsuit alleges that the decedent was killed as the result of negligence on the part of the defendant. Under wrongful death statutes, the surviving family members or beneficiaries are entitled to monetary damages as a result of the defendant’s conduct. This includes damages for pain and suffering, as well as for reasonable burial expenses. The surviving spouse, child, or parent could also look to the wrongdoer for damages in the amount that would be commensurate with what the deceased would have provided in the way of economic support.

HINT: In some situations, government agencies and employees might be immune from a wrongful death lawsuit. Consult a qualified attorney to determine the next step.