It depends on the circumstances. Of course if the suicide was not anyone’s fault, then there is nobody who should be sued and it would not be appropriate to file a case. However, there are some situations in which a business or person may be responsible for a suicide.
One such situation involves mental health treatment. Sometimes, suicides happen and there is no way anyone could have prevented them. Other times, however, a business or person may bear responsibility. For instance, mental health treatment professionals, like psychiatric hospitals or individual psychiatrists, have a responsibility to provide good, reasonable treatment to the patients and families who pay them for that treatment. If they don’t—that is, if the hospital or psychiatrist acts negligently or recklessly, and that negligence or recklessness causes the suicide—then the hospital or psychiatrist may be responsible in a wrongful death case.
At Butler Kahn, we have seen examples of psychiatric treatment hospitals that deliberately failed to hire enough nurses and staff to care for their patients, leading to inadequate care and multiple suicides. These are tragic cases. The driving cause of some such suicides is the unwillingness of the owner of the hospital to pay the salaries of the number of nurses required by the number of patients that the hospital takes in.