How do wrongful death claims work?


The death of a loved one is always difficult, but it can be especially challenging if the circumstances are unexpected or the cause of death isn’t natural. If you lose someone due to someone else’s negligence or carelessness, you may qualify for a wrongful death claim

Here’s what that means and how to handle it in a way that respects your loved one and their memory while also taking care of your own needs as a survivor.

How do wrongful death claims work?

Wrongful death actions are civil claims, not criminal ones. Wrongful death claims are filed in civil court, not criminal court.

Wrongful death actions are brought by the deceased person’s estate (usually their surviving family members). The estate could recover damages that would have been available to the dead person if they were still alive.

Who can bring a wrongful death claim?

Any person with a legal interest in the death of another person can bring a wrongful death claim. This means that spouses, children, parents, and siblings can all file for damages for their loved one’s death.

The most common plaintiff in wrongful death claims is the deceased person’s estate. This would include assets like houses and bank accounts owned by that person before they died (now owned by their heirs).

How is a wrongful death claim different from a personal injury claim?

Wrongful death claims are a type of civil action. Personal injury claims are another type of civil action, which means they both fall under the same umbrella and share many things in common.

Wrongful death and personal injury cases differ in one important way – who brings them? Personal injury actions require someone to be injured or die for a claim, but wrongful death actions don’t have that requirement—they allow family members (usually parents) to bring claims on behalf of their deceased loved ones.

These claims serve as compensation for families who have suffered an unjust loss; they can cover medical expenses, funeral costs, and lost wages during life and into the future due to caretaking responsibilities after death (to name just a few).

My spouse, child, or parent died. Can I still file a wrongful death suit?

While the law allows for such claims, there are some important things to remember. For example, you need to be able to show that your loved one died as a result of someone else’s negligence. If this is not the case, it may be difficult for you to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Also, if you are filing on behalf of yourself as a surviving spouse or child, then you must be able to prove that the loss of companionship caused by their death has caused emotional distress in your life. This can include depression, anxiety, and other negative feelings related to grief and loss.  Additionally, if they were providing financial support or guidance when they passed away—and this has been taken away—those losses can also be claimed as damages in court.

What compensation can I recover in a wrongful death lawsuit?

  • Medical expenses. These are costs related to your loved one’s illness or medical treatment before death.
  • Funeral expenses. This includes the cost of burial and all other services connected to your loved one’s funeral (such as embalming).
  • Loss of inheritance from lost future earnings: If there was anyone else who would have inherited money from the deceased person’s estate at some point down the road (e.g., children), it’s possible that those beneficiaries could recover such losses through a successful case brought on behalf of their deceased relative under certain circumstances; however this is not always possible because state laws differ. 

Do I need an attorney to help me with my wrongful death case?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, it is likely that you will need an attorney’s advice. A wrongful death attorney will be able to guide you through the process and make sure that all of your rights are protected. Most attorneys offer a free consultation for your wrongful death case and it’s a good idea to find a firm that not only offers a free consultation, but also one that will work on a contingency fee like those at MNH Injury Lawyers in Edmonton.


If you feel that another person’s negligence caused a family member’s death, you may have a wrongful death claim. It’s important to remember that wrongful death claims are civil actions, not criminal ones. 

This means that they will be tried in court, and the plaintiff must prove their case with evidence such as medical records and witness testimony. If you believe your loved one died due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing, do not hesitate to pursue your claim as soon as possible.