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What Is Involved In A Wrongful Death Claim?

Kenison Law Office, PLLC Oct. 4, 2023

Wrongful Death Lawyer

Wrongful death claims are legal actions brought by the surviving family members or beneficiaries of a deceased person who died due to someone else’s negligence, wrongful act, or intentional harm. These claims seek to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions and seek compensation for the losses suffered as a result of the wrongful death.

Definition of Wrongful Death

Wrongful death refers to a death caused by the negligence, recklessness, or intentional misconduct of another party. This can arise from various situations such as car accidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, product defects, or criminal acts. Wrongful death claims are civil lawsuits filed in order to seek monetary damages for the losses suffered by the surviving family members.

Eligibility to File a Claim

Each state has specific laws that determine who can file a wrongful death claim. Typically, immediate family members such as spouses, children, and parents of the deceased have the right to bring a claim. In some cases, other dependents or individuals who have suffered financial or emotional harm as a result of the death may also be eligible to file a claim. Consulting with a wrongful death lawyer can help determine eligibility and guide the legal process.

Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims seek to compensate the surviving family members for the damages they have suffered due to the loss of their loved one. The types of damages that can be pursued in a wrongful death claim vary depending on the jurisdiction but may include:

  •     Economic Damages: This includes compensation for financial losses such as medical expenses, funeral and burial costs, lost income and benefits, and loss of future financial support.

  •     Non-Economic Damages: These damages cover intangible losses like pain and suffering, loss of companionship, emotional distress, and loss of guidance or consortium.

  •     Punitive Damages: In some cases, if the defendant’s actions were particularly egregious or malicious, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from similar conduct.

Statute of Limitations

Wrongful death claims have specific time limits, known as the statute of limitations, within which they must be filed. These time limits vary by state, and missing the deadline may result in the loss of the right to pursue a claim. It is essential to consult with an attorney promptly after the wrongful death occurs to ensure compliance with the applicable statute of limitations.

Role of An Attorney

Navigating the legal complexities of a wrongful death claim can be challenging for grieving family members. Hiring an experienced wrongful death lawyer can provide numerous benefits. An attorney can:

  •     Assess the validity of the claim and determine the potential damages.

  •     Investigate the circumstances surrounding the death, gather evidence, and build a strong case.

  •     Navigate the legal process, including filing the necessary paperwork, meeting deadlines, and negotiating with insurance companies or opposing parties.

  •     Work with experts, such as medical professionals or accident reconstruction specialists, to strengthen the case.

  •     Advocate for the rights of the surviving family members and seek fair compensation on their behalf.

  •     Represent the family in court, if necessary, and present a compelling case to a judge or jury.

Thank you to our friends at Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight into wrongful death claims.