What do you do when your loved one dies due to someone’s actions? These unfortunate actions may include negligence or misconduct. And the loss of your loved one may have severe financial impacts on you.
It goes without saying that you will have a lot of emotional pain. Losing a loved one also means losing companionship and physical support.
You can get compensation for the death of your loved one by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. However, you will need a wrongful death lawyer to prepare your case. You will find it too difficult to file one, let alone argue it in court.
Before you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you need to know what it is. And to win the case in court, you need to understand how it works. So here are a few essential things you need to understand:
What Is a Wrongful Death?
Firstly, you must understand what constitutes a wrongful death. A wrongful death is a legal term. It refers to the death of a person due to another party’s negligence or misconduct. Sometimes wrongful death can be connected to the accused’s willful intent.
Wrongful deaths are always preventable. For example, someone killed in a car accident by a drunk driver is preventable. A baby dying because of the hospital staff’s errors is preventable. Many wrongful death cases involve perpetrators without the intention to cause harm or kill.
Sometimes, a person dies, and their relatives are unsure whether it is a wrongful death. To better understand unique conditions, talk to attorneys for wrongful death. Relatives can sue for damages due to wrongful death. Compensations are awarded to relatives if they win a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit seeks damages for the wrongful death of another person. It is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal case. Usually, a wrongful death claim is brought by the deceased’s closest relatives. But it may also be filed by a representative of the deceased’s estate.
A wrongful death claim is made to present and prove the following:
- Breach of Legal Duty
Everybody has a legal duty of care. This term means people must act in a way that doesn’t harm or kill others. For example, a truck driver has a duty of care to follow traffic laws and drive without distractions. Likewise, doctors must be cautious in caring for patients without harming them.
In a wrongful death case, you must prove the at-fault person (defendant) owed a duty of care to the deceased.
- Negligence and Causation of Death
The plaintiff must show that the deceased’s death was caused by the defendant’s negligence, recklessness, or carelessness. That is to say; they violated their duty of care which led to the victim’s death.
If the defendant is found guilty, they are liable for the damages the plaintiff suffered.
- List of Damages
The final part of a wrongful death lawsuit is claiming damages. The deceased loss must have caused expenses or loss of financial support to the plaintiff. The plaintiff can list the following damages:
- Medical bills
- Hospital expenses
- Burial and funeral costs
- Loss of income
- Loss of companionship
- Pain and suffering damages
There are cases where the plaintiff can demand punitive damages. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant and discourage future misconduct. These are more frequent in drunk driving cases.
You need a lawyer for wrongful death to prove these three issues successfully.
What Is Considered Wrongful Death Malpractice?
Wrongful death malpractice may refer to medical practice that leads to wrongful death. Medical malpractice is the act or failure to act of a medical provider that causes injury to patients. A medical malpractice lawsuit is different from a wrongful death lawsuit. But medical malpractice may be involved in a wrongful death case.
Medical practice doesn’t always cause death. But when it does, plaintiffs sue for wrongful death due to medical malpractice. In cases of medical malpractice deaths, lawyers help plaintiffs with their expertise. With the right lawyers, wrongful death cases can be successful in court.
How to Win a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Winning a wrongful death case cannot bring the deceased back to life. But it can help the relatives of the deceased ease financial pressure due to their loss.
Of course, the compensation is in no way a replacement for the relatives. But it can help them solve practical problems arising from their loved one’s demise.
To win a wrongful death case, you need to fulfill the following conditions:
- Be Eligible to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Different states have varying laws on who can make a wrongful death claim. But generally, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by:
- Immediate family members. In all states, spouses and children (including adopted ones) can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Parents of unmarried decedents are also eligible.
- Life partners, financial dependents, and putative spouses. In some states, a domestic or life partner and anyone financially dependent can sue. Also, a putative spouse who agreed with the deceased that they were married can sue.
- Distant family members. Some states allow more distant family members to file wrongful death lawsuits. For example, siblings and grandparents can sue because no closer relatives are available.
- Anyone who suffers financially. Certain states allow anybody that suffers financially to sue for wrongful death. Because they lose care or support, they may sue even if they are not related to the deceased by blood.
- Parents of a deceased fetus. Some states take the death of a fetus as the basis for a wrongful death lawsuit. Other states only allow wrongful death lawsuits for a child born alive who dies.
- Get a Wrongful Death Attorney With a Track Record of Success
Finding the suitable wrongful death layer is critical to successfully pushing your case in court. The particulars of your case may determine the caliber or type of lawyer you need.
You are not required by law to have a lawyer for a wrongful death case. But it serves you well to get one.
Talk with an accidental death attorney to know if your case fits the statutes in your state. They will give you the best information and advice.
A wrongful death lawyer knows how to help you get your lawsuit filed. They can also get you surprisingly high settlements from the law court. It would be best if you handled a wrongful death lawsuit with one.
The lawyer’s pay is usually a percentage of the settlement won in court. In addition, you may pay the base charges for booking appointments with wrongful death attorneys.
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