Wrongful Death

Written by AskTheLawyers.com™

Wrongful Death
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Overview

Photo of a man grieving at a grave

When a loved one dies, the pain and stress can be overwhelming; this terrible situation is made worse when the death came as the result of another party’s negligence. When someone dies as the result of negligence, it is considered a wrongful death. Wrongful death falls under personal injury law, and it often involves car accidents, medical malpractice, defective products, criminal cases, and other forms of negligence. What all wrongful deaths have in common is that they could have been prevented if the negligent party had acted responsibly followed the law.

How Do You Prove Wrongful Death

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the person who brings the charges is called the plaintiff. In many cases, the plaintiff is a family member of the person who died. They will file suit against the person or entity responsible for the death. The plaintiff must prove three elements:

  • Duty of Care means that the person who caused the death had a responsibility to act with care.
  • Breach of Duty of Care means the party knowingly did not take the care they should have, and so caused the wrongful death.
  • Causation of death means that the person’s error was the cause of death. It’s possible that despite this error or negligence, the person died from other causes.

Why File a Lawsuit?

When considering whether to file a wrongful death lawsuit, remember that there is a difference between a criminal and a civil trial. A criminal trial will be handled by prosecutors when the state decides to bring charges against a potentially negligent entity. A civil wrongful death lawsuit can assist the family by recovering compensation to help with their losses. These losses can be real, in the form of economic damages and expenses. There are also non-economic damages including pain and suffering and mental anguish.

Additionally, a wrongful death lawsuit can help change the law and prevent future losses for other families. Many lawsuits have helped bring about policy changes and changes to the law to increase safety measures.

Finding a Lawyer

It’s important to keep the statute of limitations in mind when considering a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, you have two years from the date of the misconduct that caused the death to bring a suit. This is why it is best to speak to a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible so you can ensure that you do not miss the deadline. When searching for an attorney to handle a wrongful death case, find one who has experience handling your type of case. They do not have to be located in your area, but should be experienced with similar cases.

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