Wrongful death claims are those brought against someone who is directly or indirectly responsible for a person’s death. Typically, a relative of the deceased initiates these claims. It is important to note that a wrongful death claim is different from a criminal lawsuit. In the former, it is the deceased person’s loved one’s choice whether or not to file the lawsuit.
Choosing the right wrongful death lawyer to handle the wrongful death lawsuit is a must as the stakes are very high. A good lawyer can tell you exactly how to proceed with the claim to get the best outcomes.
When is a Wrongful Death Claim Applicable?
Typically, a wrongful death claim arises when a person who would have a valid personal injury claim is killed due to the negligent or intentional action of the defendant. This can happen in several situations, such as:
- When a person is intentionally killed: This is when a person is killed by the defendant on purpose. Often, this necessitates a criminal lawsuit but the victim’s family can also file a civil lawsuit to claim monetary compensation.
- When a person dies because of medical malpractice: This happens if a medical practitioner fails to appropriately diagnose the condition or acts negligently in providing care, and as a result, the patient dies. The victim’s family can file a wrongful death lawsuit against the medical practitioner.
- When a person dies in a vehicle-related accident: Those who die due to a vehicle accident are victims of a personal injury. Their loved ones have the right to file for a wrongful death claim.
- When a person dies in a work-related accident: This is if a person’s death occurs during operating any machinery or due to the negligence of the employer to adhere to the safety precautions.
In all these aforementioned scenarios, the victim’s family can file wrongful death claims. Typically, the representative of the estate of the departed person can file these claims. He can do that on behalf of the survivors who had a relationship with the deceased.
What Must Be Proven in a Wrongful Death Claim?
To prove a wrongful death claim in court, the plaintiff must furnish some actual evidence. Whether the death cause was negligence or anything else, the plaintiff must provide proof that the defendant was directly or indirectly involved. It must show that the defendant was unsuccessful in doing his duty accurately that led to the victim’s death.
The most common ground of wrongful death claims is negligence. And to prove negligence, a wrongful death attorney needs to prove duty, breach of duty, causation, and damages in the court.
Wrongful Death Damages
If the victim’s family wins the wrongful death lawsuit, they can receive adequate compensation for the following:
- The victim’s pre-death pain and suffering
- Medical treatment costs that the victim incurred before his death
- Funeral and burial costs
- Loss of the victim’s expected income
- Loss of inheritance due to the victim’s death
- Loss of care and guidance that the victim would have provided
- Loss of love and companionship
With a good wrongful death attorney, the victim’s family can easily prove their claim and receive the appropriate compensation.