When my husband I decided to start a business, we didn't think about the legal aspects of doing so. We didn't realize that purchasing business insurance, getting building permits and making investments all required some type of legal advice. But after speaking to a close friend, who also happens to own a small business, we contacted a business attorney. Now, we have the legal smarts to make the best decisions for our business, as well as the legal representation in case something happens to our company. I hope that you find my blog helpful and informative for your own business. It's a great resource for finding the legal advice, resources and guidance you need to get your company up and running.
If a person dies in an auto accident, or due to injuries caused in an auto accident, and he or she would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the other person involved in the crash, his or her immediate family can usually file a wrongful death lawsuit and be awarded money to compensate for medical and funeral expenses as well as pain and suffering and lost wages. However, to file a wrongful death suit, you are usually required to be the parent of a deceased minor, or the dependent or spouse of an adult. The less immediate your relationship is with the deceased, the less likely you will have a successful wrongful death suit. This makes it difficult for life partners who are not legally married to the deceased to receive the settlement they are due. There are some ways you can prove your relationship with an unmarried life partner, though.
Common Law Marriage
One way to prove a life partnership without officially having been married is through common law marriage. This consists of living together for an extended period of time with the same cultural and financial habits of a married couple, such as filing joint tax returns and making large purchases together. At the moment, only 15 states recognize common law marriages to varying degrees, and of those only Rhode Island, Iowa, and the District of Columbia recognize same sex common law marriages. However, it is worth checking whether common law is recognized in your state.
Same Sex Couples
Historically, same sex couples have had limited rights when their partner dies, and filing wrongful death has not been among them. However, in San Francisco in 2001, the first same sex partner successful filed and won a wrongful death suit. Since then, this suit has been used as precedence to allow same sex partners across the country file for compensation when their partner suffers a wrongful death.
With same sex marriage becoming recognized in more states, it should be easier for same sex couples to prove dependency and file wrongful death suits. However, if you are not legally married, or your marriage is not recognized in the state you are living in, you may have to prove your dependency on your partner through joint bank accounts, insurance policies, and a will.
Fiances and Long Term Relationships
If you planned to get married to someone who is the victim of an auto accident, you may wonder if you have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Unfortunately, in most cases, fiances and long term boyfriends and girlfriends are unable to be compensated because they cannot prove financial dependency on the deceased. Although your grief is just as strong as a spouses, and you will suffer from a loss of future income, wrongful death cases are built on the current financial support provided by the deceased at the time of the accident. For this reason, it is often better to allow a blood relative to file the wrongful death suit.
However, if you and your future spouse lived together and contributed to joint bank accounts or had debt that you signed for together, then you may be entitled to compensation.
A wrongful death case can be difficult emotionally and mentally, so it is important that you get help from the beginning. You should talk to a qualified auto accident attorney from a site like http://www.lvaccident.com to see if you qualify to file a wrongful death suit or if there is a more immediate relative that will have greater success in filing a suit. Once you decide to file a suit, you should begin collecting proof of your relationship to the deceased and follow the advice of your lawyer.