Each state has its own laws regarding who has standing to file a
wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a loved one. In all states, however, close relatives such
as spouses, children and parents, are authorized to file suit. If the
surviving children of the deceased are still minors, most states require
a legal guardian or guardian
ad litem must be appointed to protect the child's best interests.
Claims for the Wrongful Death of a Child
Obviously, the parents of a deceased child can bring a wrongful death action.
In many states, there is no wrongful death claim unless the child was
born alive and then died. In other words, the death of a fetus is not
a wrongful death in those states. Consequently, the parents cannot bring
an action for financial losses resulting from the death, nor for the emotional
trauma from losing the child. Consult with a personal injury attorney
in your state to find out if such an action is allowed.
The Standing of Close Family Members
Close relatives may also bring wrongful death suits for the death of an
elderly loved one. However, since the children of the elderly are grown
and self-supporting, they are limited in their ability to claim damages
for parental care, guidance, nurturing, or for financial support, in most
cases. As a result, the damage awards in those cases are typically not
Standing to File Wrongful Death Lawsuits in Alabama
Unlike most states, Alabama does not allow family members of the deceased
to file a wrongful death claim, either on their own behalf or on behalf
of the deceased person. Instead, only the personal representative of the
estate is legally authorized to bring a wrongful death case. Also, all
damage awards in the wrongful death case must be paid directly to the estate.
If you have questions regarding a wrongful death or personal injury matter,
contact us online or by calling the Law Office of Cody R. Wix, LLC at (205) 381-4787.