Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?

When you lose a loved one, it can be a very difficult time as you mourn their loss and strive to honor the life they lived. However, when the loss of this loved one occurs due to the reckless or negligent actions of another, it can be a very frustrating and confusing time. What are your legal options? Can you even hold the negligent party accountable? Who can step up to file this claim? All of these questions can be complicated, but with the help of a compassionate lawyer, you can work towards giving your loved one the honor and justice they deserve.

One of the most important aspects of wrongful death cases is understanding who can actually bring forward a suit. These types of claims must be filed by a representative of the survivors who have suffered damages due to the death of their loved one. The representative is typically the individual who is named as the executor of the decedent’s estate.

Depending on the circumstances, the following may be able to file a claim:

  • Spouses and children
  • Life partners or financial dependents
  • Distant family members, such as siblings or grandparents
  • Parents of a lost child

The spouse and children usually receive priority when filing, however, if there are no immediate family members, parents or siblings that were in some way financially dependent or emotionally impacted may also be able to pursue at claim in their place.


Under the law, there are several types of damages that can be made available to survivors of a lost loved one. These can include economic and non-economic damages. In general, economic damages cover the financial contributions that the victim would have provided to their dependents or survivors and any costs associated with their passing, such as funeral expenses. Non-economic refers to mental anguish, pain and suffering, and loss of care, companionship, love and many other emotional aspects. Keep in mind that there is a two year statute of limitations on wrongful death claims, so a suit must be pursued within that timeframe or it may be dismissed.

If you have more questions concerning wrongful death cases, be sure to reach out to our Morgantown lawyers today for counsel.