To see a minor relative in Bozeman lose his or her parents can be heartbreaking. To know that their deaths may have been prevented may further that sadness. Even in the absence of the proper estate planning documents outlining his or her parents’ regarding his or her legal guardianship along with the dispersal of their assets, the state has laws in place that protect your minor loved one’s interest in that regard. Yet what about his or her ability to hold those allegedly responsible for his or her parents’ deaths accountable? Can a minor actually initiate a claim for wrongful death?
Montana law states that minors are granted the same privileges concerning civil action as adults, with the only difference being that their requests for such actions must done through a parent or guardian. This seemingly opens the door for your minor relative to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Before advising or supporting his or her decision to pursue such action, however, you should that only one party can actually sue for wrongful death, and that is the personal representative for the estate of the deceased.
In many cases, a complaint of wrongful death is filed by a personal representative at the request of the family and friends of the deceased. Thus, your minor relative may be able to express a desire for such action. At the same time, his or her emotional and intellectual maturity should also be taken in account, as well as the toll that subsequent legal proceedings could have on him or her. Your advice and council may be invaluable in helping him or her come to right decision.
The information given above should not be viewed as legal advice, but rather a basic explanation of what one’s options are should the aforementioned scenario present itself.