What to do if I’m being excluded from a wrongful death settlement?

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What to do if I’m being excluded from a wrongful death settlement?

My older sister passed away 2 years ago. Her death was a direct result of medical malpractice. A lawyer approached my sister, and she agreed to suing the hospital deemed responsible for the wrongful death. My sister received $51,000 from the settlement; my niece $25,000. My niece has not had contact with her mother for years. My sister is not speaking to me and so far has no plans a giving any part of the settlement, even though she had initially verbally agreed to do so. Is there anything I can do or should I just write my sister off as a lost cause?

Asked on August 4, 2013 under Malpractice Law, Ohio

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 8 years ago | Contributor

An oral promise by your sister to give you part of the settlement would most likely not be enforceable, if she was not getting anything (any "consideration," or thing of value) in return. You could have jointed in her lawsuit, either with her approval or by court order, had you chosen to do so; by not doing so, you have most likely given up your ability to participate in the settlement, unless your sister or neice does choose to give you something.


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