Losing someone is a horrible ordeal to go through. What makes the event even more painful is if the death was completely avoidable; but is instead caused by the negligence of another party. In such cases, it might be time to call for justice and file for a wrongful death claim.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
To put it simply, a wrongful death lawsuit is a case you file against the defendant when his or her negligence or intentional action caused the death of a loved one. Aside from compensation, such lawsuits can help pursue justice for your family during the ordeal. Like with most lawsuits, however, it’s a long and tedious process.
The lawsuit can be filed by people related to the deceased. The deceased’s estate may choose a representative which includes relatives and even friends. However, there are various regulations as to who can file the case depending on the state.
The key to winning a wrongful death lawsuit is first understanding everything there is to know about it.
When Is A Death A Wrongful Death?
If we’re going purely on the definition of the case, wrongful death claims are applicable if another party caused the death of someone – whether directly or indirectly. It’s easy to prove the fault of other parties in some cases but in others, it can become more complex and strenuous.
The most common form of wrongful death is if the other party intentionally killed your family member. In such cases, the law will hold the other party charged with manslaughter or homicide. However, if you choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit, it will be treated as a separate civil lawsuit.
Next, wrongful death claims are also applicable for accidental deaths caused by the negligence of the defendant. Such cases include car accidents or even deaths caused by a mishandled firearm.
Wrongful death claims are also applicable if the person’s death is caused by medical malpractice. This is more complex but claims are routinely filed. This includes misdiagnosis and issues with surgery among others.
These are just some of the common scenarios through which a wrongful death claim can be made. However, it’s still possible for you to file a claim even if the defendant didn’t directly cause the death.
An example of this is when the family of Robinhood customer Alex Kearns filed for a wrongful death claim towards the investment platform. As per their claim, Alex committed suicide after an error on part of Robinhood showed that he lost all of his money unexpectedly.
The family believes that Alex’s death could have been avoidable should it not have been for the error on the platform.
Whatever the case may be, the defendant will have to prove that the wrongful death isn’t on their hands. On your end, you’ll have to prove that negligence or criminal intent is indeed in play.
As these tend to be complex matters, wrongful death cases can last for months or even years from filing to judgment. If you are the plaintiff or the bereaved, it is a must that you seek legal help as soon as possible if you believe that negligence is present.
Legal professionals will help you with many things. Aside from the case itself, they’ll help secure evidence and file all important documents as well.
Damages And Compensation
The family of the bereaved is also entitled to compensation in most cases. Compensation often comes in the form of money which is determined by various factors which basically cover most expenses made by the family. These include:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical fees
- Loss of deceased person’s income
- Loss of inheritance caused by the death
- Loss of care, guidance, and nurturing
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of consortium
While it may not reverse the emotional pain and trauma that the wrongful death caused, the compensation is still going to be a lot of help to the bereaved. It is especially more important if the lost loved one is the breadwinner of the family.
A wrongful death lawsuit is tough to go through after losing a loved one but it is crucial for both seeking justice and compensation. While difficult, the process will be over with eventually. If a loved one passes and it’s someone else’s negligence or fault that caused it, it’s a must that you seek legal help as soon as possible.