Table of Contents
It can be tricky to track wrongful death statistics.
According to the CDC, over 200,000 people die each year of unintentional injuries. If you account for deaths associated with medical malpractice, this number could be far higher. What’s important to know is that if your loved one has died under unnecessary circumstances, you’re not alone.
The aftermath of wrongful death is always overwhelming for family and friends. In addition to grieving and sorting out funeral rites, you’ve got to think about a wrongful death claim. If your loved one died because of someone else’s mistake, you have to seek compensation.
In this post, we’re going to give you a guide to help you navigate the wrongful death claims process. These claims are among the most complex in our legal system, so keep reading and we’ll give you an idea of the various components involved so you have a clearer picture of the path forward.
The Basics of a Wrongful Death Claim
Before you start figuring out the logistics of your claim, it’s important to define what a wrongful death lawsuit is. Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit comes about when someone dies as a result of someone’s negligence.
At its core, a wrongful death lawsuit is to provide compensation to the family members of the deceased. This compensation should reflect the pain and suffering of the family, as well as the economic losses associated with the person’s death.
If you’re going to be successful in filing your claim, you need to pay close attention to your state’s wrongful death statute. This should tell you how your state defines wrongful death, who’s allowed to sue, and the outcomes that you can expect from the claim.
In particular, pay attention to the statute of limitations because filing after a certain date might see your case thrown out.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit Types
So, what are the different types of wrongful death lawsuits?
Wrongful death is broadly defined in a legal manner as a death that comes about as a result of negligence or a wrongful act. Whether the act was intentional or not doesn’t affect whether the death is wrongful, but separate criminal charges could be laid. A wrongful death claim is a civil suit.
Medical malpractice is one of the most common causes of wrongful death in the US, with numbers as high as 250,000 per year being cited. If a doctor misdiagnoses, fails to medicate, or fails to treat a condition that results in death, it’s medical malpractice.
Work-related deaths can be considered wrongful, but many of them are covered under workers’ compensation. If the family decides to take further legal action against an equipment company or another company, then a wrongful death suit may occur.
Claims based on negligence account for a huge number of wrongful death suits. Car accident cases, slips and falls, defective products, and construction accidents all fall under this category.
Lastly, intentional acts such as murder or battery can result in wrongful death claims. These are separate from the criminal charges that the state will pursue.
Who Is Involved?
Knowing who is allowed to pursue a wrongful death claim is important. Surviving spouses, children, parents, other family members, or other members of the deceased person’s estate are typical claimants.
As far as defendants, anyone who caused the wrongful death can be sued. Examples include at-fault drivers, companies that manufacture defective products, companies that fail to warn about product risks, medical professionals, and government agencies.
In some situations, individuals may be immune to wrongful death charges. This is usually the case for employees that were acting within the scope of their position.
What You Need to Prove
To win a wrongful death lawsuit, you need to prove the defendant’s responsibility. You also need to prove that this responsibility was breached resulting in the wrongful death.
In dealing with the first issue, intention or negligence has to be established. Most cases deal with negligence, so there needs to be proof that the defendant had a duty. Whether that’s a duty to drive safely or provide medical assistance depends on the case.
Once that’s dealt with, the next move is to prove that the defendant didn’t achieve their duties. If it’s a driver, you need to prove that they were driving dangerously. If it’s a doctor, you need to prove that they failed to provide the correct medical assistance.
The last thing is to prove that this negligence directly led to the death of your loved one. Failing to prove any of these things could result in a dismissed claim. For this reason, it’s always best to have a qualified lawyer helping you through the process.
The Importance of a Wrongful Death Lawyer
Obviously, these are incredibly serious cases. If you want to see justice carried out, you should be hiring a wrongful death lawyer. They’ll understand how the law works and how to navigate the process so that the outcome is in your favor.
Finding a good lawyer is important, so search for wrongful death lawyer on Google and meet with a few of the top ones. When you hire a lawyer who has experience with wrongful death suits, you’ll get all of the legal advice you need.
This advice will help you determine the compensation that you should be seeking. Your attorney will also pour over the evidence and prepare your case to have the best chance of success.
How Wrongful Death Compensation Works
Determining compensation can be tricky with a wrongful death claim. How do you quantify the damages of a loved one’s accidental death?
There are practical costs that you can add up, like medical and funeral expenses. The noneconomical damages aren’t as definable, but that’s where a lawyer can help. Using past experience, they’ll help you quantify your damages and put forward a claim that has a good chance of success.
Focus on Healing
Now that you know how to deal with this wrongful death claim, you can get the compensation you and your family deserve. Once it’s done with, you can start to put the focus back on healing after this tragedy.
Did you enjoy this post? Visit us again for more legal and financial advice.