If someone close to you died through intentional harm or negligence, you may be able to file a personal injury lawsuit against the individual or company responsible for the death. This lawsuit is typically filed on behalf of any surviving family members and other individuals who may have been affected.
Knowing more about wrongful death lawsuits should help you determine if they are applicable to your case.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim can essentially be made in situations where a personal injury claim would have otherwise been filed if the negligence or intentional harm didn’t cause a death to occur. One such scenario is when someone is killed because of an intentional act. With standard personal injury cases, a wrongful death typically results from a car accident or medical malpractice. If the car accident fatality was caused by another party’s negligence, it’s possible for the family of the deceased person to file a wrongful death claim. The same is true if someone was receiving medical treatment and died because of a misdiagnosis or a poor level of care. A personal injury attorney will be able to help you identify if your case would qualify as a wrongful death.
How a Wrongful Death is Proven
In order for a person or company to be held liable for a death, it will need to be proven that an intentional or negligent action of theirs directly caused the death. A lawyer will usually only recommend filing a lawsuit when they can be relatively certain that you will be able to prove that another entity was at fault for the death. It will also need to be proven that the death caused the exact damages that the plaintiff is trying to recover.
Who is Able to File a Wrongful Death Claim?
These claims can be made by anyone who had a relationship with the deceased person or is a representative of their estate. For instance, a spouse will likely be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their deceased spouse. This typically applies to parents of a deceased child as well.
There are a wide variety of damages that can be sought when filing a wrongful death claim, which includes everything from a loss of consortium to the pre-death pain and suffering that the deceased individual went through because of their injuries. Medical costs that occurred before the death can also be obtained with a wrongful death claim. Some of the additional damages that can be sought include burial and funeral costs, loss of expected income from the deceased individual, a loss of inheritance, and a loss of companionship. It’s likely that only some of these types of damages will apply to each case.