Wrongful Death Immunities: Who Is Excluded from Wrongful Death Lawsuits and Why

Wrongful death lawsuits, like anything else, have some exceptions and exclusions. Before you hire a lawyer for a wrongful death suit, you should know what these exclusions are. The last thing you want to do is hire a lawyer and find out after the fact that your case will not hold much weight in court because of exclusions. Sometimes there are ways around the exclusions, but those ways around are definitely not easy to obtain or accomplish. Here are the exclusions to wrongful death lawsuits, as they are practiced in some states, and an explanation of why they are exclusions.

Family Cannot Sue Family (Sometimes)

In some instances, family cannot sue family. There is this idea of maintaining family harmony, which is why some jurisdictions do not allow close or extended family members to sue each other over the deaths of other family members. For example, if your sister shoots your husband and kills him, you cannot sue your sister, no matter how much you want to. In areas where family immunity is in place, the courts may allow such a lawsuit, but the circumstances must be extenuating, and only your local courts can define what "extenuating" means. The other exception is that you have a distant cousin who visits and whose actions lead to the death of one of your children. A distant relative who you rarely see may be sued simply because you do not need to maintain family harmony with a distant relative.

You Cannot Sue Governments​

Sovereign immunity dictates that you cannot sue the government unless the government agency being sued is clearly at fault for a very heinous act and the government of the city or state has waived its "sovereign" rights. This law exists so that grieving families cannot sue the government when soldiers die in battle or when people die in accidents at factories that are in contractual agreements with government agencies to produce things like weapons. Your wrongful death lawyer would have to argue with the governing body for them to waive their rights so that your lawsuit can be pursued. If your lawyer is successful in getting the government agency to waive its sovereign immunity, then you can sue for the death of your loved one, no matter what that death was or how it was caused. If the governing agency does not waive its right to immunity, your case stops there.

Contact a professional wrongful death attorney for more information.