What to Do if You Have a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When someone passes away due to another person’s negligence, the affected family or survivors can file for a wrongful death suit. A good example is when someone drives drunk, hits another car, and the person driving the other car dies in the crash. The family can then file for a wrongful death lawsuit. These suits vary from one state to another but have the same objective: to get justice for the deceased family and dependents.
Who Can Sue for a Wrongful Death?
Depending on the circumstances, different people can file a wrongful death claim. Some of these individuals include the following:
- Immediate family members: The immediate family members can file a wrongful death suit. These include the spouses, children (both biological and adopted), and parents for those who passed away.
- Extended family members: In some states, distant family members are allowed to file for wrongful death. Such members would include sisters, brothers, step-siblings, and also grandparents if they raised the deceased.
- Financial dependents and life partners: In some US states, individuals who depended on the deceased can file. These individuals include putative spouses and those who depended on the deceased for financial support.
- Other individuals suffering financially: When someone used to get financial support from the deceased and has been affected by their death, they can file for a wrongful death suit. This lawsuit happens even if they aren’t related through blood or marriage.
- Parents of a dead fetus: When a fetus dies, it can lead to a wrongful death suit. This situation is only possible when the fetus came out alive and passed away later. The parents can sue for emotional and financial loss, depending on how it occurred.
All of the above, either individually or as a group, can file for a wrongful death suit. Since this case type is always complicated and sensitive, it is recommended that they file this case through a wrongful death lawyer. These lawyers handle wrongful death cases on behalf of individuals who have lost a loved one due to someone’s mistake. The attorneys have the experience of personal injury cases and can handle both if there were injuries sustained to other parties.
When Is a Wrongful Death Suit Relevant?
When a deceased got wrongfully killed, the situation can lead to the filing of a wrongful death claim. There has to be a relation between the defendant and the cause of death. Such situations include the following:
- When a medical treatment leads to death: When a doctor fails or gives the wrong diagnosis of a disease or gives the wrong medication which later results in death, the family can file for a wrongful death suit against the doctor.
- When the deceased was killed intentionally: When someone gets sentenced to hanging, and later this ruling is overturned, the family can sue the jury in some places.
- Accidents caused by negligence: When someone dies in an accident caused by another person or a faulty car, the family can file this claim.
Depending on the above examples, different people can sue for different wrongful death causes. It can be a person, a company, an employee, or a government agency. From the investigations, a report may show who was responsible for the death of the deceased. For example, in the case of a car accident, any of the following might be liable: the driver, manufacturer, road designer, and government, depending on what caused the accident.
What Do You Need to Prove?
Depending on the case, the individuals filling the claim have to prove that the defendant failed to take reasonable care and that their actions directly caused the death.
They also need to prove that, through this death, they have suffered losses that need recovery. The compensation required is the amount that could have been provided by the victim if they were alive. Some of these damages are as follows:
- The pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before passing away
- The medical expenses incurred by the victim before death
- Costs incurred at their funeral and burial
- The expected income from the diseased
- Inheritance losses caused by their death
- Value of the services which could have been provided by the deceased
- Loss of companionship, love, and care that the deceased could have provided when alive
In some cases, different people and agencies are immune to a wrongful death lawsuit. They cannot get charged with such. These individuals and agencies include government employees, agencies, and their family members since the law protects them. You need to confirm with your attorney before making this move.