Personal Injury Lawyer
The owners of clubs and bars should understand that alcohol fuels violence. Responsible owners hire security staff who are trained to recognize and defuse violent confrontations. If it appears that an argument might turn into a fight, the staff members should eject the rowdy patrons — but at different times and through different doors, so they don’t move the potential fight into the parking lot.
When club owners fail to provide security that could prevent a shooting, victims pay a price. The family of a victim who dies in a club shooting may be entitled to bring a wrongful death case against the club.
Each state has its own wrongful death law. Those laws determine how compensation is measured and distributed. Each state also sets a deadline from bringing a wrongful death case. A security negligence lawyer can help families understand how state law applies to their case.
State law determines who can bring a wrongful death case. Since states follow different approaches to commencing a wrongful death lawsuit, families can protect their rights by seeking prompt legal advice from a security negligence lawyer.
Family Members Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case After a Shooting at a Club
Many states identify specific family members who can commence a wrongful death claim. Some of those states require all eligible family members to join in the same lawsuit. That rule prevents family members from bringing multiple claims against the same club for the victim’s death. Family members who do not wish to participate must opt-out.
Other states require one or more specific family members to bring the action. That family member is responsible for distributing the compensation pursuant to state law. No state allows friends of the shooting victim to a claim for wrongful death in the absence of a familial or dependency relationship.
States always allow spouses and minors to participate in a claim for compensation. Whether parents, adult children, siblings, or other relatives can participate in the claim depends on state law.
Participation may also depend on whether the relative relied on the shooting victim for financial support. Some states, for example, allow children who were financially dependent on the victim to share in wrongful death compensation even if they were not children of the victim.
How family members share the compensation awarded for a wrongful death is also determined by state law. Some states follow a formula. Other states let the family decide, although the decision can be made by a judge if family members cannot reach an agreement.
When Estates Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case After a Shooting at a Club
In some states, the victim’s personal representative brings a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the victim’s estate. A personal representative (also known as an executor) is nominated in the victim’s Will. If the victim died without a Will, the personal representative is appointed by the court.
In nearly all states, the victim’s personal representative can also bring a survival action on the victim’s behalf. A survival action seeks compensation for the victim’s medical expenses prior to death, as well as any pain and suffering the victim experienced. A survival action is often joined with a wrongful death action.
When an estate brings a wrongful death or a survival claim, the proceeds of the claim belong to the estate and are distributed according to the terms of the victim’s Will. If the victim had no Will, the proceeds are distributed according to the state law that governs the distribution of property owned by a person who had no will.
If you have questions about a wrongful death case, please contact a wrongful death attorney today.