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Understanding Wrongful Death: Do you have a claim?

"What is considered a "wrongful death?" Wrongful death is when the death of a person is caused by the intentional act, recklessness or negligence of another individual or entity. Whether the fault lies with a person, business or large corporation, the survivors of the deceased may be entitled to monetary compensation for the loss of a loved one."

When a person is killed in an accident there are so many immediate concerns and details to be taken care of that loved ones don't often consider whether or not it might be a case of wrongful death. Wrongful deaths can be intentional, accidental or the result of negligence. The law surrounding wrongful death suits is complicated and requires an expert to guide you through the process.

There are many regulations surrounding who may file a wrongful death suit and when it must be filed. NOLO states that "according to Utah Code section 78B-3-105, the "heirs" who may file a wrongful death claim include:

  • the surviving spouse
  • the surviving adult children
  • the surviving parent or parents, including adoptive parents
  • the surviving stepchildren, if they are under 18 at the time of death and were financially dependent on the deceased person, and
  • other blood relatives as listed in Utah's inheritance laws."

In the state of Utah, the statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death suit is within two years from the date of death and one year if the suit is against a government entity. Wrongful death suits must be filed in civil court by the family representative (listed above) and are separate from any criminal suit filed against the defendant. Those charges must be brought by a prosecuting attorney.

Our attorneys have over 35 years of experience working with wrongful death suits and can help walk you through the process. To read more about how we can help, click here. 

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