If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligent behavior, your family may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. 

A wrongful death lawsuit takes place against another person who can legally be held liable for a death. Nothing in the world can take away the pain and agony caused by this misfortune, but you should pursue legal compensation if a negligent person is responsible. Losing a loved one is a traumatic experience that comes with unexpected expenses. This guide will help you file a wrongful death claim so that you can receive damages. 

Determining Eligibility 

The first consideration you should take is researching if you’re the person who is authorized to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Even if the person who passed away is close to your heart, it’s essential to understand that not just anyone can file this lawsuit. Eligibility is entirely based on your state’s statutes as they pertain to filing a claim for wrongful death. The decedent’s surviving spouse, children, parents, siblings, or other family members are authorized to file a lawsuit in certain states. 

In the state of Utah, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by any of the following people that are related or designated by the deceased party: 

  • A surviving wife or husband.
  • Any surviving adult children.
  • A surviving parent or parents (including adoptive parents).
  • As long as they were younger than 18 at the time of death, any surviving stepchildren that were financially dependent on the deceased party can file a claim.
  • Any other blood relatives, per listed in the inheritance laws in Utah, such as surviving siblings if there are no other surviving parties.

Statutes of Limitation

Learn your state’s statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. Each state abides by a pre-determined time limit that restricts when someone can file the claim. For example, in Montana, the statute of limitations is three years, whereas, in Florida, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of the death. Residents of Utah have up to two years to file a wrongful death claim. In any case, it’s essential to act fast if you’re eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit; otherwise, your eligibility status won’t matter once several years have passed already.

Initiating the Lawsuit

Once you have determined that you are eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit and that you’re still within your state’s statute of limitations for doing so, you’ll have to commence the civil case. Usually, the first document that you must file for a civil suit is a complaint or petition. Submitted documents must provide the defendant with notice of legal grounds for the case, also known as facts of the case. Next, you must file a summons, a legal document that notifies the defendant that they are being sued and specifies where the hearings will be held. It’s essential that at this point, you seek out an injury lawyer that you can trust, that will fight for you and your rights. 

Contact Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton Injury Attorneys 

No one deserves to cope with the death of a loved one alone. Filing a wrongful death claim will be emotionally taxing, so you’ll need to work closely with a personal injury lawyer. The law firm of Flickinger Sutterfield & Boulton has the knowledge and experience to get you the compensation you deserve. We have offices in Provo, West Jordan, Orem, Saratoga Springs, Utah, and serve individuals and families throughout Utah Vally and Salt Lake Valley. Contact us today for a free case evaluation and learn more about how we can help you in these trying times.