Someone else’s decision to drive distracted or to drive drunk has ended your girlfriend’s life and has ruined yours. When your girlfriend died from her car accident injuries your dreams for the future died with her. The future that you had planned together ended.

What Now?

As you grieve, you may wonder about your legal rights. You may have lived together and you may have been planning to get married in the future, but you were not married when your girlfriend died. That said, whether you have standing to sue for wrongful death in this situation depends on whether your girlfriend had a valid will at the time of her death and on what the will said.

The person with standing to sue for wrongful death will be the executor of your girlfriend’s estate. That person:

  • May have been named in her will. If it is you, then you may file the wrongful death claim on behalf of your girlfriend’s estate.
  • May be appointed by a court. Generally, it will be a close relative such as a parent or adult child if the person who died was not married at the time of her death.

Any damages recovered in a wrongful death claim belong to your girlfriend’s estate and should be distributed according to the terms of the estate.

Now is a time when you can work together with your girlfriend’s immediate family. Please feel free to share this article with them or to encourage them to contact us directly with any questions. We would be happy to answer any questions that the executor of your girlfriend’s estate might have about the wrongful death legal process.

Jason F. Abraham
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Helping car accident and personal injury victims throughout Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa since 1993.