Sadly, deaths can occur due to the negligence or intentional act of another person. While the circumstances surrounding the death can dictate whether or not the local authorities press criminal charges, civil suits can still be brought. Residents of Colorado may be curious as to who can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Ultimately, every state has its own set of rules regarding statutes of limitations and other aspects of a wrongful death suit. However, it is widely accepted that any member of the deceased person’s family or estate is eligible to file a civil claim against the person responsible for the death of their loved one. Knowing the laws regarding these suits and who can file them is an important part of deciding what to do going forward.
There are some states where only a personal representative of the deceased is eligible to file the wrongful death suit. A personal representative is defined as a person or a company that is responsible for managing the estate of the deceased. Ultimately, this representative files the claim on behalf of the estate.
Spouse and children
The states that do not require a personal representative to be the plaintiff in a wrongful death suit let the spouse or any living children file the claim against the responsible party. Some states do not limit these options to spouse and children, instead allowing anyone who would inherit from the deceased to file suit. Finally, there are states that have prioritization laws concerning what order certain family members can file suit, typically starting with a spouse and any living children.
Wrongful death cases can be painful to endure and complicated when brought to court. An attorney who is knowledgeable of their state’s wrongful death laws may guide their clients through the process to bring civil litigation against the individual responsible.