A wrongful death claim allows you to collect damages for the death of a loved one due to the negligence of another person. This situation may arise from any type of accident and sometimes intentional situations.
FindLaw explains that you can only collect damages and bring a wrongful death claim if you are the spouse, child or parent of the person who dies. The spouse gets the first claim. If there is no spouse, then the children can make the claim. If there is no spouse or children, then the parents can bring the case to court. If there are no immediate relatives, then an executor of the person’s estate can bring the claim on behalf of the next of kin.
You may collect damages in an amount the court deems as equal to the full value of the life of the person who died. The court will not reduce this amount by expenses that the person would have had if he or she had lived. There is no maximum amount limit on these damages.
Statute of limitations
One thing to keep in mind is that you may lose all chances to get any damages if you do not bring the case to court within the time limit set by the law. The statute of limitations for a wrongful death case is two years from the date of the person’s death.
However, there are two situations where the court may extend the time limit. If you are waiting for an associated criminal case to end, then you have up to six years, but you must file when the criminal case concludes. If the estate is in probate, you may also wait to file until it is final, but you only have up to five years.