Has your loved one died due to reckless or negligent behavior of another person? You can file a wrongful death suit against that person if you are a surviving family member. A wrongful death lawsuit allows you to collect damages for your loved one’s untimely demise. You will need to go to a civil court and have a judge determine the number of monetary damages you should receive. Are you looking to sue for your loved one’s wrongful death? What you need is a qualified accidental death lawyer to help you out.
Grounds for Filing a Wrongful Death Suit
Grounds represent a reason for your claim that can be backed by law. In a wrongful death lawsuit, your grounds would be that the deceased lost their life due to the other party’s negligence or intention and that their family members were both financially and emotionally affected by the deceased’s death. As such, you must establish the following grounds to succeed in a wrongful death lawsuit:
- You must prove that the death of your loved one was caused by the other person’s recklessness, negligence, or intentional act. This also proves that the event that caused their death was not brought on by their own doing or lack thereof.
- You must establish that you have suffered significant damages following the wrongful demise of your loved one.
Some of the most common wrongful death suits are caused by medical malpractice, a work-related accident, car accident, or unlawful act that took place in the process of a crime.
Who Can File for Wrongful Death?
State laws determine who is entitled to file for wrongful death. Most states allow children and surviving spouses. Others include siblings, grandparents, and other extended family members. If you are having trouble finding out if you can file a wrongful death lawsuit, a lawyer can help you understand what the law says and what steps you should take.
Family members are often required to open a probate estate to distribute recovery and sue on the deceased person’s behalf. This, like other aspects of your lawsuit, is determined by the state laws applicable to you. You can seek the help of a qualified lawyer to avoid compromising your lawsuit with omissions or mistakes.
Wrongful Death Damages
Once you have established that another party’s wrongful act caused the death of your loved one, you and other surviving family members can collect the following damages:
- Punitive damages to punish the other party whose negligence or deliberate behavior caused the wrongful demise of your loved one
- It also acts to deter such behavior.
- Compensatory damages for the emotional pain and suffering you and other family members have endured due to your loss
- Damages for lost wages the deceased would have earned if their life was not cut short by their wrongful death.
- The deceased person’s medical bills and burial costs
However, it is essential to note that some states do not award punitive damages. All states also have statutes of limitation that determine how much time you have to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If the limitation period passes, you will be barred from ever filing the lawsuit. That is why we recommend talking to a lawyer if you believe that another party’s negligence caused your loved one’s demise.
Immunity from a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Some agencies or persons are immune from wrongful death lawsuits and, as such, cannot be sued. The relevant state laws determine who is entitled to such immunity. For instance, government agencies and their employees may be immune to a wrongful death suit. The same may apply to specific product liability claims and railroad accidents. This part of the law is somewhat complex and may prove difficult for someone with no legal experience. However, a lawyer can help you understand who you can hold liable and how to go about it.
A qualified and experienced lawyer in wrongful death lawsuits can help you understand your rights on the matter and whether you can go ahead with the lawsuit. They can also help you make the right moves before the limitation period expires and locks you out of any wrongful death claims. The emotional distress that comes with losing a loved one can impair your ability to remain objective in your lawsuit. That is why we recommend hiring a wrongful death attorney to help you stay on track and protect your interests.