Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits

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Wrongful death can occur because of a number of different reasons, though it is usually the result of an accident caused by someone’s negligence. You can make a wrongful death claim if you are the survivor of the person who has died. The claim is made against the person who caused the accident. Before you begin this long process, you should have a full understanding of what a wrongful death claim entails and if it is worth your time and effort. Here’s the basics for a wrongful death claim and lawsuit.

What Counts as a Wrongful Death?

The majority of wrongful death cases involve accidents, but there are examples of intentional harm (such as abuse in nursing homes) that can be claimed. Car accidents, workplace accidents, workplace illnesses, medical malpractice, accidental poisoning, overdoses, property liability accidents, and pedestrian and bicycle accidents are the most common situations. In each of these cases, one party can be held liable because their negligence contributed to the accident and therefore the death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim and Lawsuit?

People who can sue are the survivors of the deceased. Usually this is parents, children, spouses, life partners, and certain other family members. The survivors often have a dependency on the person who has passed away, be it financial support or companionship. Adult children may be unable to sue over the death of a parent because they are no longer dependent on them. A judge may determine if survivors have a right to sue.

Who Can Be Sued?

Any person or party who acted negligently and caused the death can be sued. This could be a driver who caused a car accident, a manufacturer who released faulty equipment, a property owner who failed to fix tripping hazards, or a construction company who constructed a faulty design. In some cases, fault may overlap to several parties, and you may sue each of them depending on their involvement.

What Damages Can Be Claimed?

Damages can be split into economic, non-economic and punitive categories. Economic damages can be medical bills, funeral costs, lost wages, and lost inheritance. Non-economic refers to damages that have no monetary value, such as pain and suffering and loss of love, care, protection, or companionship. What you can claim often depends on your relationship with the deceased.

To determine where you stand in a wrongful death claim process, consider contacting a wrongful death lawyer, like Patterson Bray. Every situation is different, and there may be state laws you don’t know about that affect your case. Never hesitate to seek help, especially if there is a chance you could receive compensation.