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Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?

Wrongful death cases cover a wide variety of circumstances, from car accidents to medical malpractice to product liability cases. Filing a wrongful death case allows you to seek compensation for lost wages, funeral expenses, and even intangible losses, such as companionship.

Those who have suffered damage from the loss of the decedent are called “the real parties in interest” and those persons vary from state to state:

  • All states allow family members such as children, spouses, and parents of unmarried children to file a wrongful death claim.
  • Some states allow those who were financially dependent on the deceased, such as domestic or life partners and putative spouses (someone who believed in good faith they were married to the deceased) to file.
  • Some states allow more distant family members, such as siblings, grandparents, or cousins, to file wrongful death cases.
  • Some states allow anyone who was financially impacted to file a case, even if they’re not related by marriage or by blood to the victim.
  • Some states allow the parents of a deceased fetus to bring a wrongful death action for emotional loss of an unborn child. Several states do not allow a wrongful death case unless the fetus was born alive and then died.

In all cases, wrongful death claims need to be filed by a representative of the real parties of interest, usually the deceased’s estate executor. If you’re looking for a wrongful death lawyer in Chicago, call the Law Offices of Mark L. Karno & Associates at 312-574-3362 for your free consultation. We welcome clients from Aurora, Chicago, and the surrounding communities. 

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