WorldExecutivesDigest | Everything You Need to Know About Wrongful Death Claims | When a person dies due to the negligence of another party or entity, the survivors can seek a wrongful death claim. This is a relatively new concept in America, as no common law jurisdictions initially allowed death claims. However, most states introduced some kind of action against wrongful death cases during the last century. This article will discuss everything you need to know about wrongful death claims.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim seeks damages or compensation for the loss of the deceased person in the form of loss of wages, personal loss, and the cost of funerals. This includes all types of fatal accidents, from normal car accidents and severe medical malpractice cases to product liability cases. Though wrongful death laws vary in different countries, generally, it allows the estate or those who are close to the deceased person to file a lawsuit with the help of a wrongful death lawyer against the defendant who caused the death due to their negligence or intentional effort.
What’s the Eligibility Criteria to Apply for a Wrongful Death Claim?
Below are the cases when one is eligible to apply for a wrongful death claim:
- In case of fatal accidents: If a victim dies in a road accident due to the other person’s fault, a claim can be brought against the defendant party.
- In case the victim dies due to medical malpractice: There have been many cases where a patient dies due to the negligence of the medical professionals. In such cases, the family of the deceased person has the power to bring a claim against the hospital or a person.
- In case the victim is intentionally killed: There are cases when a victim is intentionally killed due to rivalry or political issues. In such cases, the victim’s family, with the necessary evidence, can apply for a claim.
Now, the question is, who can sue for the wrongful death claims? The claim must be filed by a representative on behalf of the victim’s family, as they will have to bear the losses due to the victim’s death. Here are those people who can apply for a claim:
- Close family members including husband, children ( adopted children too), and parents of the unmarried children.
- Financially dependent members, life partners, and putative spouses.
- Some states even allow distant family members like grandparents to seek a claim.
Who Can Be Sued for the Claim?
Wrongful death claims can be brought against multiple persons or government agencies at fault. This can include those parties who are directly or indirectly related to the mishappening, which further caused death. For instance, a case road accident followed by drunk driving and a faulty roadway can involve the following people at fault:
- The driver who caused the accident
- The designer or builder who failed to repair the faulty roadway
- The manufacturer who provided faulty machine parts for the vehicle
In many cases, government agencies and employees may get immunity from wrongful death claims. This means that they cannot be held responsible for the claim. Again, this varies according to different states.
How Can a Lawyer Help File Wrongful Death Claims?
Depending on the state you live in, the laws regarding wrongful death can vary. While some states limit the claim eligibility to the immediate family members, some even allow distant family members to apply for the claim. And even if you skip the given date to file your application, you might not be able to file your claim later, even if you had a legitimate case. To avoid all such possibilities, it is advised to hire a wrongful death lawyer as soon as your family member or any known contact becomes a victim of wrongful death.
A lawyer who has experience in handling wrongful death cases can help represent your case well with all the necessary evidence and information. While most cases get settled, and the victim party gets fair compensation, many parties do not agree on a settlement. In such cases, the lawyer might take your case for a trial where the decision is left on the shoulders of the jury.
The Bottom Line
Cases of wrongful death can be shocking and emotionally tiring for the family members. Above all, fighting wrongful death claims can be a hectic process. So, if you or someone you know has been a victim of wrongful death, it is advised to seek the help of a professional and experienced wrongful death lawyer as they can formulate the right defense strategy to help you get fair rewards.