A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed when someone dies due to the legal fault of another person or entity. Intentional killing, car malfunctions, and medical malpractice are all common instances that may serve as grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.
This useful guide includes everything you should know if you are interested in filing a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death claim is brought against a defendant who causes someone's death either by negligence or by intent. Moreover, A wrongful death claim may arise when the defendant's wrongful actions lead to the death of a victim who otherwise would have had a valid personal injury claim. You may encounter this in the following situations:
The victim's estate, usually the closest surviving relative, usually a spouse, child, or parent, will typically file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased plaintiff. However, state laws often dictate who is legally allowed to file wrongful death suits on behalf of another party. Some states may allow more distant relatives, such as siblings or grandparents, to claim wrongful death. Domestic or life partners as well as anyone who was financially dependent on the victim may also have a right to file a claim.
Some states limit a parent’s ability to receive financial or emotional compensation if a fetus dies before birth. These states may only allow wrongful death claims if the baby passed away after it was born. It is highly advised to consult an experienced attorney to help you navigate the wrongful death regulations in your state.
Various individuals, companies, and even government agencies can be sued for wrongful death. It is possible, for instance, to file a wrongful death suit against the following defendants:
According to Johns Hopkins University, medical mistakes are the third-leading cause of death in the United States. Wrongful death in medical malpractice occurs when the medical provider fails to act in accordance with the accepted standard of care. The standard of care is determined by analyzing what another medical professional in the same specialty would have done in a similar situation.
In the event that a loved one passes away due to medical malpractice, you may be unsure whether you should sue the hospital or the doctor themselves. It is best to seek the advice of your attorney regarding who to sue in these instances. Upon establishing liability, your attorney will help you pursue compensation for the victim’s death.
Following a successful wrongful death lawsuit, you may be entitled to a number of different damages. Survivors may receive compensation for funeral and burial costs, medical treatment costs incurred due to injury prior to the victim’s death, loss of the deceased person’s future income, and loss of any inheritance that occurred as a result of the victim’s death. Another common compensation for wrongful death is known as a “survival claim.” In a survival claim, the deceased's estate is compensated for the victim’s pain and suffering from the moment of the injury until the time of death. The focus of survival claims tends to be on the suffering the victim endured while still alive instead of the financial and emotional consequences of the death. Essentially, survival claims are simply personal injury lawsuits filed on behalf of a deceased loved one.