Wrongful Death



Wrongful death is a claim in common law jurisdictions against a person who can be held liable for a death. The claim is brought in a civil action, usually by close relatives, as enumerated by statute. Under common law, a dead person cannot bring a suit, and this created a loophole in which activities that resulted in a person’s injury would result in civil sanction but activities that resulted in a person’s death would not.

Historically inn most common law jurisdictions, there was no common law right to recover civil damages for the wrongful death of a person. Wrongful death actions were strictly statutory.   The states on the United States have different laws regarding wrongful death claims. In most states, the statute of limitations (time limit to file a case) varies according to how the death occurred.  

It is important to envelop within the wrongful death claim the “survival action,” of the decedent i.e. the claim of the injured person survives his/her death.  This is the case when the person who is injured or damaged dies.  In such a situation the claim again the party responsible survives.