wrongful death claim
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A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit filed by the loved ones of someone who died as the result of another person or entity’s negligent or intentional actions. These claims allow the surviving family members to seek compensation for their loss.

Wrongful death lawsuits are a type of personal injury case. They involve allegations that the defendant’s negligence or misconduct resulted in the death of the victim. The goal of a wrongful death claim is to hold the at-fault party legally and financially accountable.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The individuals permitted to pursue wrongful death damages varies by state law. But generally, the following relations have legal standing to bring a wrongful death claim:

– Spouse of the deceased
– Children of the deceased
– Parents of the deceased
– Siblings of the deceased
– Any other family members financially dependent on the deceased

If the deceased person has no living relatives in these categories, the personal representative of their estate may file a wrongful death suit.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

Many types of civil wrongdoings can lead to a wrongful death. Some of the most common causes include:

– Motor vehicle accidents – Reckless driving, drunk driving, speeding, and other irresponsible actions behind the wheel often lead to fatal crashes. Surviving family members can sue the at-fault driver for wrongful death.

– Medical malpractice – Preventable medical errors take hundreds of thousands of lives each year. When substandard medical care results in an untimely death, the victim’s family may have a medical malpractice wrongful death claim against the careless healthcare providers.

– Nursing home abuse or neglect – Elderly nursing home residents rely entirely on the staff for their health and safety. If neglectful practices or willful abuse leads to a patient’s death, the victim’s family can file a nursing home wrongful death lawsuit.

– Defective products – When defective consumer products cause fatal injuries, the manufacturer or retailer can be held liable. Deadly defects in vehicles, medical devices, children’s toys, and other products often lead to product liability wrongful death claims.

– Premises liability – Property owners have a responsibility to maintain safe conditions to protect visitors from harm. Slip and falls, inadequate security, fires, and other hazards can have fatal consequences. Surviving kin have the right to bring a premises liability wrongful death claim against the negligent property owner.

– Workplace accidents – Employers must provide proper training, safety gear, and operating protocols to keep workers from preventable on-the-job fatalities. If they fail to do so, they may be sued for wrongful death.

Damages Available

Money cannot make up for losing a loved one. But successful wrongful death claims do provide financial compensation to help the victim’s family. This can include compensation for:

– Funeral and burial costs
– Loss of the deceased’s future earnings
– Loss of benefits the deceased would have provided (companionship, guidance, household services, etc)
– Pain and suffering of the victim’s family
– Loss of inheritance for the victim’s heirs
– Other expenses caused by the wrongful death

Statute of Limitations

These claims must adhere to strict filing deadlines. The statute of limitations for wrongful death cases is generally 1 to 3 years. This window varies by state and case specifics. Consulting a wrongful death attorney promptly is key, because once the statute of limitations expires, the opportunity to pursue a claim is gone forever.

An Experienced Attorney Can Help

The aftermath of losing a loved one is profoundly difficult. Adding a complex wrongful death claim to your plate may seem daunting. An experienced personal injury or wrongful death attorney can handle the entire legal process for you while you focus on healing. An attorney will investigate your case, maximize available evidence, determine the liable parties, and fight for the full compensation your family deserves. With strong legal advocacy on your side, you can pursue justice for your loved one.


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