The death of someone you love can be devastating and traumatic. However, it is usually more heartbreaking for a person’s family when someone dies due to the reckless or careless actions of another person.
When such situations occur, the law will allow you to make a wrongful death claim. So let’s begin to look at everything you should know about this type of lawsuit.
Types of Wrongful Death
Below are some types of wrong death cases you can file a lawsuit for:
● Car Accidents
Here, the driver might be operating his mobile phone and driving, then accidentally hit the pedestrian due to not paying attention.
● Medical Malpractice Accidents
A doctor who does not pay attention or ignores a patient’s reported symptoms might prescribe the wrong medication for an illness.
● Workplace Fatalities
Sometimes, the construction company’s manager might try to cut back on safety equipment for the workers. This might be in a bid to lower the budget but would then lead to death.
● Fall or Slip Accidents
A company might place a wet floor sign which can result in someone slipping and hitting their head.
What Happens in A Wrongful Death Lawsuit
A surviving spouse, family member, or head of an estate can proceed to file this type of lawsuit to the court. This is usually fined against the group or individual to hold them liable for the death in question.
When you seek a wrongful death attorney, they will try to prove wrongful or negligence on the part of the accused. For example, in a medical malpractice, the prosecuting lawyer would try to prove that the practitioner(s) in question failed to use the suitable instruments.
They would also prove that the hospital failed to use a skilled person for the patient or operation. Finally, the court determines the amount of liability or guilt that the party holds, if any.
Requirements for Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If you ever find yourself in a situation to file a negligent death-related lawsuit, here are the requirements:
- Either provable negligence or wrongful conduct should have caused the death.
- One or more related victims may have suffered damages due to the death.
- The conduct or negligence should be the subject of a personal injury or similar. And it should have led to the recovery of damages if the victim survived.
- A person must have died.
The second reason above means the loved ones or surviving family members must have a reason for bringing this type of lawsuit to the court. Such causes might include;
- Loss of companionship.
- Suffering and Emotional pain.
- Loss of livelihood or income (when the deceased was the provider).
Who Brings Wrongful Death Claims?
The state usually determines the person that brings this claim to the court. In most cases, a personal representative of the deceased appointed by the court files the lawsuit. This individual would bring the case to benefit the surviving spouse or children of the dead.
The court commonly appoints any beneficiaries of the negligent claim as the personal representative. The person or representative appointed by the court would file the lawsuit on behalf of the real party’s interest. Such persons usually include:
- Immediate family members
- Distant family members
- Financial dependence, putative spouses, and life partners.
- All persons who suffer financially
Who Can Be Sued For a Wrongful Death Claim?
There are various individuals, government agencies, employees, and companies that you can sue for wrongful death. So long as they are not granted immunity from the lawsuit action by the state jurisdiction.
For instance, a car accident that led to death involved a drunk driver, potholes, and a faulty airbag. It is possible to file a suit against the establishment that served the alcohol, the contractor or agency responsible for the road, the drunk driver, the airbag distributor, or any car manufacturer.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Compensation
In most cases, the state awarded punitive damages and compensation for these lawsuits. Below are the differences.
● Punitive Damages
The court awards punitive damages based on the defendant’s wrongdoing to preserve human life, punish wrongdoers, and discourage future instances of such behavior that might lead to death.
● Compensatory Damages
The court would award compensatory damages to the complainant for medical bills, lost wages, nursing home care, medicine, suffering, pain, etc. Also, some states award compensatory damages for other types of personal injury claims like car accidents.
That’s A Wrap
If you have lost a relative or loved one in an accident due to someone else’s mistake, you should seek the help of an attorney to hold them responsible in court.
A wrongful death will always help you investigate the death, build up your case, prove damages, negotiate tour settlement, gather evidence, litigate your case in court and settle other legal matters.