In personal injury cases, it is the injured party who files a lawsuit. In wrongful death matters, the law dictates which parties can bring forth a lawsuit for compensation.
Mississippi’s statutes say that the following people can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their lost loved one:
- The deceased party’s estate personal representative
- The deceased party’s surviving spouse
- The deceased party’s surviving child or children
- The deceased party’s surviving parents
- The deceased party’s surviving siblings
How Does the Court Split Damages?
If the deceased individual’s spouse brings forth the wrongful death claim, the court will split the damages and compensation between the spouse and children in an equal manner. Should the deceased not have a surviving spouse or children, the next in line will be the surviving parent(s) or sibling(s).
In cases where the deceased individual has no surviving family members, the personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate files the claim.
What Happens When There’s No Will, Personal Representative, or Surviving Family?
In the event the deceased didn’t have a will, a personal representative, or surviving family members, the state can file a wrongful death claim. The case by the state is known as a “survival claim,” and any damages will go to creditors first and foremost. After the state pays the creditors, the rest of the compensation goes to the deceased individual’s heirs.
Wrongful Death Cases: How do Criminal and Civil Courts Differ?
Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits. There are no criminal repercussions associated with a wrongful death claim. The family or personal representative brings forth a lawsuit for the sole purpose of pursuing compensation for their losses.
In criminal matters, the prosecutor files a case for actions that are illegal, malicious, and intentional—such as acts of violence. Criminal cases don’t focus on compensation; instead, they focus on a conviction which can include a jail or prison sentence.
Our Gulfport wrongful death attorneys help clients through the civil process of pursuing compensation. When you need to fight for justice, you can count on Gulf South Law Firm to be there by your side.
Call (228) 231-3989 today or fill out a contact form to discuss your potential case.