This blog is part of the InjuryBoard.com legal weblog network. InjuryBoard has great information on almost every possible personal injury topic. The wrongful death page provides the following overview:
A suit for wrongful death may be filed when a person dies as the result of someone else’s negligent, reckless or intentional act. Most wrongful death suits are based on negligence, and as with all negligence suits, you will need to prove that the wrongdoer had a duty to act in a certain manner, failed to act in such a responsible manner (breached the duty), and such failure caused the death of your loved one.
Each state has different rules regarding who can sue for wrongful death. Generally you must be either the personal representative (a person who manages the affairs of another because of incapacity or death), child, spouse, or parent of the person killed. In other words, if your friend is killed you cannot sue for wrongful death. However, if your husband or wife is killed you likely can. Typically, the person suing for wrongful death can recover the value of lost monetary support. Additionally, some states allow certain close family members to recover for their own mental anguish caused by the death of the loved one.
You can also check out wrongful death frequently asked questions, such as How do I prove that a loved one died as a result of negligence? and What sort of damages should I expect to recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?