Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit for a death that occurred outside of the United States?

If a family member dies outside the US, you may be able to sue for wrongful death in the United States, but the overseas element will make your case more complex.

If a family member dies overseas, you may be able to sue for wrongful death in the United States. However, the overseas element will add a level of complexity to a litigation that is already complicated.

You can argue that a U.S. court has jurisdiction over a foreign defendant. Foreigners are subject to suit in our country based on ties to the U.S., and sometimes, lawsuits are even filed here by foreign plaintiffs against foreign defendants based on incidents that occurred abroad.

Nevertheless, establishing jurisdiction is procedurally intense and not at all obvious. You will need to hire a competent, experienced attorney. In some senses, initiating a wrongful death lawsuit is the same whether the death occurred within the country or abroad. Still, the intensely complicated procedural element of establishing a claim over a foreign entity poses a challenge to many attorneys.

The first thing to determine is who can sue. It is not something that just anyone can do. A lawsuit for wrongful death may only be brought by a personal representative of the decedent's estate. To prove the claim, the plaintiff must prove the following:

  • a death occurred
  • the death was caused by the negligence of someone or with intent to cause harm
  • surviving family members suffered monetary injury as a consequence of the death
  • a personal representative for the decedent's estate has been appointed

The estate's personal representative can also sue for personal injury to the decedent, conscious pain and suffering, and expenses incurred prior to the death. Damages awarded based on these claims will belong to the estate and will be passed to parties as directed by the decedent's will.

How can The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary help?

If one of your family members died overseas and you intend to file a wrongful death claim, The Law Offices of Sean M. Cleary can be of great help to you and the other surviving family members. Our attorney, who has over 20 years of professional experience, will strive to recover the maximum financial compensation you are entitled to. Regardless of the complexity of your case, we will do all in our power to obtain the most favorable outcome for you.

Disclaimer: Please note that the information provided on this site is not formal legal advice, also the site does not allow you to form an attorney-client relationship.