The answer is complicated, but let’s start at the beginning. A wrongful death lawsuit is a lawsuit on behalf of the surviving family members of the deceased person who died because of negligence on the part of another person or company. When state’s laws and statutes are involved, there can be an entirely different set of laws that govern these proceedings in different states. As a result, it is important to know what qualifies as a wrongful death lawsuit in order to proceed with filing your suit.
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Most people believe that the answer to the question “what qualifies as a wrongful death lawsuit?” is found in the state’s laws. In short, it depends on where you live. Most states have common law that governs these types of lawsuits, which is that the person who dies in a state is considered to have died in that state.
Another question often asked is what if the person dies in another state but was legally alive during the time of his or her death? This too is complicated. Generally speaking, if you were not working when you died, and were in another state, the state’s laws usually do not allow you to file a wrongful death claim. However, some states do recognize common law; in other words, they allow you to make a claim even if you were not in the state at the time of your death. Again, this will vary from state to state, and is something you need to discuss with an attorney who will be able to help you determine the best course of action based on your particular situation.
Another question often asked is whether the action can be brought against a business or corporation. Whether a business exists at the time of the death is one of the first factors that will determine whether or not you have a case. It must exist at the time of the death, so generally speaking, if it existed at the time of death, then it may be able to be brought.
One issue that is frequently confused is whether or not a claim of wrongful death has to involve physical harm or mental anguish. In most states, whether death has been caused by the actions or negligence of the other party is all that is needed for a wrongful death claim. Whether mental suffering is caused or resulted from the defendant’s conduct will depend on your state’s statute of limitations.
The last question often asked is what do I do if I do not live in California? The answer is that most states recognize the common law in cases of intentional killing and hold that it is a cause of action. The same applies if you do not live in California. Therefore, if you want to file a wrongful death lawsuit, you must seek advice from a qualified attorney who has experience in this area.