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Can Deceased Sue? Negligence, Other Injury

Discussion in 'Accidents, Injuries, Negligence' started by PhatMama469, Sep 26, 2016.

  1. PhatMama469

    PhatMama469 Law Topic Starter Guest

    Jurisdiction:
    California
    Hi!
    To Whom it May Concern:

    I am writing on behalf of a friend of mine who is a little shy about asking these sorts of questions... At any rate, his grandmother was burned by McDonald's coffee because the lid wasn't on properly. She went to the doctor's and has several bills. But she failed to file a suit and now she is dead. Her daughter has contacted McDonald's and she said they are in communications and they have made her a couple offers for settlement... But she has no lawyer! My friend said that she has contacted 6 lawyers but none will take the case because the grandmother is dead. So, my friend's mother isn't happy with the offers that McDonald's is giving her... my question is this: Can she sue McDonald's for her dead mother? Can she represent herself? She wasn't in the car when the burns happened, my friend was. Should he be handling all of this? And finally, this happened in December of 2014 and she died in May of 2015... Thanks for your help!
     
  2. army judge

    army judge Super Moderator

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    No, a dead person can't initiate a lawsuit, nor can a corpse be sued.
    The estate of the deceased can be sued, and can in certain limited situations sue another entity.

    In the case of your unfortunate grandparent, sorry, no one can sue on her behalf.
     
  3. txls

    txls Well-Known Member

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    Perhaps she should accept what they are offering and move on. And understand that whatever they pay will be paid to her estate. Six lawyers have told him no. He must not be all that shy about asking.
     
    Michael Wechsler likes this.
  4. Michael Wechsler

    Michael Wechsler Administrator Staff Member

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    Attorneys are almost certainly not lining up to take this case because so much time has passed since the incident and sadly (my condolences), the injured party isn't around to testify as to exactly what happened. The case you describe is highly fact specific. Unless there is video that clearly depicts exactly what happened to cause the personal injury so that fault can be directly attributed to the McDonald's employee, proving fault and liability of McDonald's will be extremely difficult. There is also no injured party with whom a jury will sympathize. And considering the plaintiff passed away only a few months after the incident (but it seems not a factor in her death), what would the amount of damages be? Perhaps not high enough to induce an attorney to take a case on contingency fee - which may be why all six personal injury attorneys declined to take the case. All of these things indicate that if McDonald's was even willing to make a settlement offer, your friend should probably consider taking it immediately before it is withdrawn.
     

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