Common Causes of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Patrick DiBenedetto with Metier Law Firm.
Wrongful death lawsuits may be possible in the event that a loved one dies due to injuries caused by the neglectful or intentional conduct of another party. If the injured person would have been eligible to file a lawsuit had they lived, it is likely their family will be eligible to file a wrongful death claim if they pass away.
Unfortunately, this happens sometimes even when the injured person is in the midst of their personal injury claim. In this situation, the family will need to close the personal injury claim to begin a new type of lawsuit in the form of a wrongful death claim. To learn more about wrongful death lawsuits or for help filing, reach out to a wrongful death attorney for a free consultation.
Some situations are more likely than others to cause wrongful death, including but not limited to the following:
- Car and motorcycle accidents
- Pedestrian and bicycle accidents
- Semi-truck accidents
- Dangerous premises
- Dangerous products
- Medical malpractice
- Water and recreational accidents
- Workplace injuries and accidents
- Criminal activities
In any situation where one party was negligent in regard to the safety of another person, or intentionally caused harm to them as in the case of criminal activities, the deceased’s family may choose to file a wrongful death claim seeking compensation for the same damages the victim would have if they lived.
Damage which may be sought in a wrongful death claim include the following:
- The victim’s medical bills before death
- Wages lost while the victim was receiving treatment for their injuries
- Loss of expected income, especially if the deceased was a primary earner
- Pain and suffering before the victim’s death
- Loss of companionship on behalf of the spouse/family
- Funeral and burial expenses
Damages are unique from case to case, and it takes an expert to calculate the non-economic damages such as pain and suffering and loss of companionship. It is important to sit down with an expert in the field before trying to estimate the value of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Not everyone is eligible to file a wrongful death claim; parties that may be eligible to file include the following:
- Immediate family members (i.e. a spouse or minor children)
- Parent (if the deceased is a minor)
- Domestic partner
- Adult child (if the deceased was an adult)
- Distant family member (if the deceased has no immediate family, a distant relative might be allowed to file)
- Executor of the deceased’s estate (if the deceased had a will drawn up prior to their death)
It is important to note that the rules regarding who may or may not file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased can vary significantly from state to state. This is why it is important to seek counsel from a wrongful death attorney in your area
Wrongful death attorneys understand the financial and emotional pressure that grieving families go through after the loss of a loved one. That is why these attorneys offer free consultations and work on a contingency fee basis, so that families only pay for their services if they make a recovery from the case, allowing them to focus on healing and recovery above all.