What is wrongful death?
Wrongful death occurs when one person is killed as a direct result of the negligent or wrongful actions of another person, company, or entity. A wrongful death suit holds the negligent party responsible for the victim’s death. The lawsuit is intended to compensate the surviving family members for their loss.
Wrongful death cases are difficult and emotional – and often family members question the logic of legal action, because it certainly cannot reverse the very painful loss they have suffered. However, a successful claim can accomplish two very important things:
- Legal action can help you to handle the additional financial burdens you may be facing, and alleviate at least the monetary anxieties that a death often brings.
- Legal action can hold the guilty party responsible under law – and prevent another family from facing the same tragedy
What causes wrongful death?
Virtually any type of accident or incident with injury potential can lead to a case of wrongful death. Some of the most common factors involved in a wrongful death claim include:
- Car accidents
- Drunk driving accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Work accidents
Wrongful death law
The family member bringing the suit must establish that the following criteria of negligence were met:
- The defendant had a duty to the deceased, such as the duty of a driver to obey traffic laws
- The defendant failed in that duty – for example, the driver ran a red light
- The death occurred as a direct result of that failure – for example, the driver who ran a red light hit another car, killing the other driver
- The surviving family members are entitled to damages as a result of the loss of their loved one
Wrongful death benefits vary by case, but can include:
- Damages for the conscious pain and suffering that preceded the family member’s death
- Reimbursement for all medical expenses incurred as a result of the negligence
- Reimbursement for the loss of any future income – the court calculates what the deceased would have earned
- Reimbursement for property damage, if applicable
- Reimbursement for any future services normally provided to you by the person who has died
- Reimbursement for loss of consortium, or the relationship and services provided by the deceased – for example, the companionship, help and affection that the deceased spouse would have provided
Wrongful death attorneys
Wrongful death is a complex area of law, and the companies or persons against whom you may be filing suit will often have their own legal representation working to protect their interests. You deserve a legal team committed to serving your interests and your rights – and achieving some measure of justice on your loved one’s behalf.
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney. You have only a limited time to file a claim, so you must act quickly.