Filing a Wrongful Death Suit When You Are Not Married

Grief over the loss of a loved one is not an emotion that is tied to your legal connection to the deceased. For unmarried partners, the pain associated with the passing of someone they love is no different from that of a legally married couple. However, how the court chooses to view the legal routes of these unmarried individuals in wrongful death suits is a little different. While filing a claim if you are unmarried is complex, it is not necessarily impossible.

The Barrier

Each state has a wide range of authority when it comes to its guidelines for filing claims. With wrongful death suits, many states require that only certain individuals have the right to file this sort of claim. Typically, the people that fall into this approved list are children of the deceased, parents, and their legal spouse. For this reason, you might feel like you don't have much of a case if you aren't closely related to the person who died. 

Alternative Options

If you live in a state with this guideline, there are a couple of options that you can consider to file your claim. First, in some states, any person who had a financial dependence on the deceased can also file a claim if they can prove this dependence. In your case, if your partner was the primary earning in the household, you may fit into this category. 

Second, if you are listed as a beneficiary in the will of the deceased, you can file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the estate. Should the claim be successful, the money from the suit would be passed down into the estate, and then dispersed per the existing terms of the will. 

Access to Compensation

Once you take the step to file the claim as the unmarried party, rest assured that you are not being slighted. If the court approves your request to file a claim given your status, you will also be granted the opportunity to file for the same compensation as a married partner. 

For example, you can file a claim for lost income the deceased would have earned, the loss of companionship, and any other financial burdens the death of the deceased may have created for the household. Whatever the dynamic of the situation, an attorney will sit down with you to discuss your options.

If you want to discuss your options for filing a claim for the passing of your partner, be sure to speak with a wrongful death attorney to learn more about your options.