If your loved one loses his or her life as a result of someone’s negligence, carelessness or wrongdoing, you have a right to hold the wrongdoer accountable by filing a wrongful death claim and pursuing damages.
A wrongful death claim is essentially a personal injury claim brought by the family of the deceased on his or her behalf, obviously because they can’t do so themselves. The same things that would give rise to a personal injury claim had the decedent survived, are the same things that give rise to a wrongful death claim.
Wrongful death claims differ from criminal homicide cases because criminal cases are brought by the state and if the defendant loses, they may be sentenced to prison. A wrongful death claim, on the other hand, is filed for money damages. Nevertheless, one does not preclude the other and you can bring a wrongful death claim at the same time that a criminal case is going on.
The main purpose of a wrongful death claim is to shift the cost associated with the death of your loved one from you and your family to the person or entity who is responsible for your loved one’s death.
Therefore, the primary reason why you should pursue a wrongful death claim following the death of a loved one is to be compensated for present and future losses that you have and will incur as a result of your loved one being killed.
There are a number of damages available to you and your family under a wrongful death claim, some of which would not be available under a personal injury claim. The damages that you can typically recover include:
The specific amount of each these damages will depend on a variety of factors.
A wrongful death claim can be brought by the family of the deceased person or a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate. State law allows the following people to file a wrongful death claim:
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, filing a lawsuit is probably the last thing on your mind. However, you only have a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death claim against the person responsible for your loved one’s death. So, call a qualified wrongful death attorney as soon as you are able and ready, and before the statute of limitations expires.