If a close relative of yours has passed away due to another person’s negligence or misconduct, you may be able to file a wrongful death claim. If successful, the damages you receive can cover everything from funeral expenses to loss of companionship. However, these lawsuits can be emotionally taxing and time-consuming.
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death claim. In most states, a personal representative of the deceased’s estate—such as the executor of the will—may pursue legal action. They can do this on behalf of close family members, such as a child or spouse.
To win a wrongful death claim, the evidence must show that the accused acted carelessly and that these actions led to the fatality. examples would include a drunk driver causing a crash by running a red light or a hospital nurse administering too much medicine, causing a fatal heart attack.
Other examples of wrongful death claims include everything from product liability to a workplace accident. Criminal behavior can also cause this type of lawsuit—in fact, in some instances, an accused person could face criminal charges, as well as a civil suit in the form of a wrongful death claim.
How Damages Are Calculated
Finally, for a claim to succeed, the accusing parties must prove they were negatively impacted because of the loved one’s death. Financial or “pecuniary” aspects are the main measure of damages. This includes things like loss of family income, medical costs and funeral expenses.
Some less tangible elements are also considered when calculating damages, such as loss of companionship to a spouse or parental guidance to children. If the individual experienced pain and suffering before passing away, this could also be addressed in a “survival claim.”
If you’re considering a wrongful death claim, speak with a lawyer you trust to assess the strength of your case. With over 40 years of experience, our attorneys are known for their compassionate and communicative approach to clients. We will handle your case with the emotional sensitivity it deserves while fighting aggressively for your rights.