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How Do Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work?

Wrongful death lawsuits are a special kind of personal injury cases. A wrongful death lawsuit is filed when a person is killed due to the mistake, negligence, or intentional act of someone else. The wrongful death lawsuit is brought against the person who is accused of causing the death through negligence or intentional harm. When a person dies, the estate of the deceased person has the right to file a lawsuit against the party who was responsible for the wrongdoing. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of the surviving family members by a representative of the estate.

In what cases is a wrongful death claim applicable?

A wrongful death claim may be applicable in any of the following cases:

When a victim is intentionally killed – If someone plots and plans to kill someone and does so intentionally, like in the case of murder, then a wrongful death claim is applicable.

When the victim dies due to medical negligence – If the doctor or healthcare provider fails to carry out their duties as expected, that is considered medical negligence. Common examples of medical negligence is when a doctor or health care provider fails to diagnose the problem correctly, delays the diagnosis, incorrectly diagnoses the problem, or is careless in providing the necessary level of care needed by the patient. All these acts of negligence could result in the death of the victim. That’s when a wrongful death claim is applicable.

If the person dies due to another driver’s negligence – Car accidents are common cases involving negligence. If the driver was distracted, was using a cell phone while driving, or was drunk driving, these are all cases of negligence. Car accidents resulting in fatalities are eligible for wrongful death claims.

Fatalities caused due to any of the above mentioned reasons can turn into wrongful death cases. Any kind of personal injury case can turn into a wrongful death claim if it results in the death of the victim.

What needs to be proven in wrongful death cases?

In wrongful death cases, the plaintiff in the claim has to meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet if the victim had survived. For example, it must be proven that the defendant had a responsibility towards the victim of providing them with duty of care. It also needs to be proven that the defendant breached that duty, resulting in the death of the victim. By filing a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff can recover damages.

Who files a wrongful death claim?

Wrongful death claims can be filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim. It is filed on behalf of the survivors of the victim. In most states, the direct relatives of the victim can file the wrongful death claim, such as their parents, souse, or children. In other states, siblings and grandparents may also have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

What damages are covered in wrongful death claims?

By filing a wrongful death claim, the survivors of the deceased can receive compensation for the following:

  • The pre-death pain and suffering of the deceased
  • The medical costs incurred to treat the victim after the injury
  • The funeral and burial expenses
  • The expected income of the deceased person if the deceased had dependants
  • Loss of any inheritance due to the victims death
  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of care, guidance, and nurturing which the deceased provided

In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, it is advised to contact a qualified personal injury attorney.

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