A wrongful death claim is a type of lawsuit that is taken against an accused party who has caused someone’s death due to misconduct or negligence. This lawsuit seeks compensation or restitution for the survivors’ losses: lost companionship, the deceased’s lost wages, and funeral expenses.
Wrongful death claims exist when a fatality is caused by another person’s legal fault/s. For instance, a driver could be blamed in a car accident, or a medical practitioner could be held liable for a negligent act that resulted in a death.
Civil lawsuits demand legal supporting reasons for a wrongful death claim. The grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit are different from that of a personal injury as it must have resulted in an individual’s death. His/her death is a result of either negligence or a deliberate malignant act. Consequently, his/her family and relatives are directly affected emotionally, psychologically and financially due to his/her death.
An applicable wrongful death claim may occur in different situations, such as:
When A Victim Is Intentionally Killed
For instance, one may be sued for wrongful death for murdering one or two victims. This would be a case of an intentional act.
When A Victim Dies As A Result Of Medical Malpractice
When a doctor fails to diagnose a medical condition, or if the doctor was unable to provide a certain level of care, and it resulted in death, then the family of the deceased can accuse the doctor of wrongful death.
After A Car Accident With Casualties Due To Negligence
When passengers die due to car accident injuries, the surviving family and relatives may file a wrongful death claim.
These are just a few instances of personal injury cases that may result in wrongful death claims. Wrongful death claims may arise from almost any type of personal injury situation. However, work accidents that result in death is a notable exception for this case. Those cases are usually handled solely by means of the worker’s compensation process.
Distinguished persons, government agencies, business employers and employees may be sued for wrongful death lawsuits.
A common instance is a car accident implying a drunk driver and/or a faulty roadway. A wrongful death claim may include defendants such as:
● The employer or driver at fault following the car accident
● The builder, designer or engineer of the faulty roadway
● The distributor, manufacturer, or installer of any faulty or malfunctioning pieces of the automobile
● The government agent or agency who was unable to deliver enough warnings involving road hazards that resulted in the accident
● The owner of the premises where alcoholic drinks were provided
A person representing the surviving family members who are suffering damage from their relative’s death may sue for wrongful death. The survivors are called the “real party in interest,” and the representative is usually the executor of the deceased’s estate. The “real party in interest” may vary depending on the situation but may include:
Immediate Family Members
In all states, members of the immediate family include spouses, children (considering adopted children), biological or adoptive parents, and parents of unmarried children; and these individuals may sue for wrongful death.
Legal Spouses, Putative Spouses, And Financial Dependents
In some states, a life partner or anyone previously financially dependent on the deceased may sue for wrongful death. Also, a “putative spouse” (someone with good faith that he/she was married to the deceased) or supposed spouse may also sue for wrongful death.
Persons Who Are Suffering Financially
Some states also authorize individuals who are suffering financially from a person’s death to sue for wrongful death. They may sue for lost support or care, although they are neither related by blood or marriage to the deceased.
Parents Of A Deceased Fetus
Some states consider the fetus’ death as a basis for wrongful death suit. But, in some other states, parents cannot claim a wrongful death lawsuit to recuperate for emotional and financial losses following the death of their fetus. For parents who live in those states, they may file a wrongful death claim, but only if their child was born alive then passed away.
Distant Family Members
Some states also allow distant family members such as sisters, brothers, and grandparents to claim wrongful death lawsuits. For instance, a grandmother or grandfather who is raising their grandchild may sue for wrongful death.
Wrongful death claims may often involve complicated areas of the law, such as medical malpractice or an auto accident. This may result in huge damages, so it is usually best to hire or consult with a lawyer that deals with auto accidents and wrongful death like the ones here.
If your loved one has passed after an injury or accident due to the negligence of another person, entity or company, you may bring claim a wrongful death lawsuit against them. Make sure to consult with a wrongful death lawyer to disclose your legal rights and determine the best way to proceed with your case.
Author Bio: Adeline Robinson is one of most promising young law writers. She writes pieces on law topics for common readers. She is an avid sports fan and loves watching games if she has free time.