Many times the person who calls our office about a possible lawsuit does not end up being eligible to participate in the suit. Grandchildren, in-laws, siblings or unmarried significant others are just a few of the people who may fall into this group. In other cases, people who had little involvement in the victim’s life or in finding a lawyer may be eligible to join or (even take over) a suit. These possibilities all depend on who the law says may a file suit.
If an injured elder or dependent adult is alive, they will almost always be the ones who file a lawsuit. If they are not mentally competent, we will work with families and the court to choose someone else to speak for them. If the victim has died, various laws determine who may file suit in their place, depending on such factors as whether they have a surviving spouse or wrote a will. If the care home caused their death, another group of people (again defined by law) is eligible to sue for their wrongful death.
The people most likely eligible to sue on behalf of deceased victims include their surviving spouses, children (both biological and formally adopted), and grandchildren whose parents died before the victims’ date of death. This may mean including people who hardly knew the victim, or family members who aren’t on good terms with the people who hired our office. But the law requires our office to tell these people about the suit and give them a chance to join. We have successfully protected the interests of everyone in our cases for many years, both those who joined later and those who called us to begin with.