Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit in Utah?
Rights and Restrictions in Utah
In Utah, an accidental death—also known as a wrongful death—is one caused by the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of another party. Some examples include car, truck, and motorcycle accidents, bicycle accidents, and dog attacks, where the negligent actions of another party led to the incident that killed someone.
Just as in a personal injury case, the at-fault party can be held accountable through monetary damages. However, Utah—like all other states—places a limit on who can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased. In Utah, the heirs of the deceased, or the personal representative as named in an estate plan, can file suit. Heirs are considered to be:
- The surviving spouse
- The surviving adult children
- The surviving parent or parents, including adoptive parents
- The surviving stepchildren, if they are under 18 and were financially dependent on the deceased
- Other blood relatives as listed in Utah’s inheritance laws
Unlike in a criminal case where a prosecutor must file charges, in a wrongful death case one of the heirs must file the suit in civil court. Generally, the suit is filed by an heir in the order listed above. In other words, the surviving spouse would be the designated heir to file, but if the deceased has no surviving spouse, adult children may file. If the deceased had no children, his or her parents may file.
William Enoch Andrews Can Walk You Through This Complicated Process
If you have lost a loved one upon whom you were financially dependent in an accident that was not his or her fault, you may have grounds for an accidental death claim. With the guidance of an experienced accidental death attorney, you can start to put the pieces of your life back together. Do not hesitate to contact Mr. Andrews for a free consultation via the link on this page.