When a loved one passes away, the initial shock of the situation can lead to many unfamiliar emotions. Death is a part of life and there is not much you can do other than giving them a respectful burial. However, it is important to know the exact reason that led to their death.
In some cases with unnatural deaths, there is a responsible party. If you feel their death warrants a wrongful death lawsuit, this article will help you understand how these cases work.
What Does A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Mean?
Basically, a wrongful death claim is a type of civil case that you can use to recover compensation or damages for the death of your loved one. Typically, the case is brought on by the survivors of the deceased or the decedent.
Every state has some similarities and some differences when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits. They could differ on the number of damages that can be awarded on a successful wrongful death claim, or who can file the suit, among other aspects.
Wrongful death is generally when the cause of death was due to someone else’s negligence or wrongful act. In other words, the decedent would have been able to file a personal injury case had the action not resulted in their death.
While the entire legal procedure can be complex, the basic purpose of a wrongful death claim is to compensate for the economic or other losses that the survivors of the deceased have suffered.
Some Common Cases For Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated. However, you might benefit from a few common examples of wrongful death cases to help you better understand if your situation fits the lawsuit.
However, just because your situation is not one of the following common examples, it doesn’t mean your case doesn’t have the merit for a wrongful death lawsuit. Therefore, you should contact Thomas Law Offices and discuss the case before filing a lawsuit.
Intentionally killing a person
Sometimes, you can also sue the person for intentionally killing, whether or not they were convicted for the murder of your loved one. However, in most cases, a civil lawsuit means that the state attorney can try them again for a number of charges in criminal court.
Death caused by a road accident
Road accidents can be incredibly brutal and sometimes result in death. If your loved one was a victim in an accident caused by another party, you can sue them for wrongful death even if there was no criminal case against them.
If the person who caused the accident was driving a vehicle that belonged to a company, usually you can bring a lawsuit against the company as well as the driver or either one of them.
Death caused from medical malpractice
If you went to a hospital and the medical team failed to take proper care of your loved one causing their death directly or indirectly, you can also sue the hospital and the medical personnel involved in the medical malpractice lawsuit.
Directly, it will be clear but it can be tricky to know if they caused the death indirectly. For instance, it can be not diagnosing their condition properly, administering the wrong medication, or giving expired medicines, among other things.
Death caused by injuries
Deaths can also result from all sorts of injuries. If something fell on your loved one or they slipped and fell on private property, you can usually sue for wrongful death.
However, you should keep in mind that you can’t sue for wrongful death with workplace injuries. If your loved one died from workplace injuries, then that situation usually leads to a worker’s compensation claim. An experienced law office can usually help either way.
Who Can Usually File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Since the person who was actually the victim has passed away, there is a question of who is eligible to file the wrongful death lawsuit. The right to sue is generally based on the relationships closest to the decedent and blood relatives.
The priority is given to the spouse or children of the decedent. Since it affects them directly, and the most, they can file without thinking twice.
If the deceased was unmarried and without any children at the time of death, their parents and siblings are allowed to file a lawsuit for wrongful death.
If the decedent’s parents have passed away and they don’t have any siblings, their more distant relatives can also file. Some states also allow unmarried domestic partners to file.
If someone else, outside of the above, was an heir or in the will of the decedent’s estate, they can also be eligible to file.
What Damages Can You Expect In A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Since a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case, the entire purpose of the suit is to receive compensation or damages for the death. Therefore, you should understand the level of compensation you can receive to decide if the case is worth your trouble.
While the level of damages can vary between states and only your lawyer can give you a better picture, the following are some examples of what you can expect.
The first type is the economic or financial damages, which are usually:
- Loss of the decedent’s income
- The deceased funeral and burial expenses
- The lost value of the inheritance the deceased was expected to leave
- Value of the everyday household or other services the deceased performed
- Other expenses that resulted due to the death of the deceased
Other than these, you might also be eligible for therapy and loss of love and comfort, among other things.
Look Out For The Deadlines For Filing
If you intend to file a lawsuit or are still thinking about the toll it will have on everyone, you should look at the deadline for filing the wrongful death lawsuit for your loved one.
Every state has a deadline, which is also known as a statute of limitations. It can vary from state to state.
Also, the statute of limitations might be complicated to understand. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as the law simply giving you a timeline. That’s why, either you can find out the deadline for filing yourself or contact an experienced lawyer who can help you with everything.