Wrongful Death Jurisdiction and Question of Liability

by Jenny
(Oshkosh, WI)

Our son was in a car accident in Missouri, we live in Wisconsin. One young man was killed in the accident. Our son was not the driver, and we do not own the vehicle. Are we liable in any way for anything?

I am hearing rumors of two things: one we are liable for $10,000 in underinsured\uninsured payment from our insurance company. And two, that we may be presented with a wrongful death lawsuit. I just don't see how that could be possible since our son was merely a victim, sleeping in the vehicle at the time of the crash.

There were no citations issued against the driver of the vehicle. Our son has had some medical issues, and the vehicle owner has been very helpful with insurance information.

I would like to know:

1. If a wrongful death suit can be filed, who can it be filed against? Driver? Vehicle owners? All passengers? Or nobody?

2. Who has jurisdiction over such lawsuit should it be possible? WI or MO?

3. Why would our insurance have to pay anything? Or is this just a rumor?


Visitor Question:
Disclaimer: Information provided in our response is NOT formal legal advice. It is generic legal information based on the very limited information provided. Under no circumstances should the information in our response, or anywhere else on this site be relied upon when deciding the proper course of a legal matter. Our response does NOT create an attorney-client relationship. Always get a formal case review from a licensed attorney in your area.

ANSWER for "Wrongful Death Jurisdiction and Question of Liability":

First and foremost, I am sorry your son had to experience such an accident. As far as your questions are concerned, a wrongful death suit can be filed. Typically it is filed against the driver and the owner of the vehicle and not against mere passengers.

The jurisdiction of the lawsuit is the state and county in which the accident occurred. If your son was not the owner or the driver of either vehicle, it does not seem possible that your insurance should have to pay anything so perhaps it is simply a comment by a misinformed individual.

Check your policy to see if your son is somehow covered for his injuries, but aside from that, I cannot imagine that your insurance would be in play.

The above is general information. Laws change frequently, and across jurisdictions. You should get a personalized case evaluation from an attorney licensed in your state. Find a local attorney to give you a free case review here, or call (888) 647-2490.

Best of luck,

Judge Calisi

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