A wrongful death occurs when a person is killed due to the negligence or misconduct or another individual or group of individuals. A wrongful death action belongs to the decedent’s immediate family members with the majority of survivors being spouses, children, and the parents of the decedent. A suit for wrongful death may only be brought by the personal representative of the decedent’s estate. However, the damages awarded to the estate may pass to different parties as directed by the decedent’s will.
What Makes a Death Wrongful?
For a wrongful death to have occurred, the following four elements must be present:
· The death of a human being
· Caused by another’s negligence
· The survival of family members who are suffering monetary injury as a result of the death
· The appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate
A wrongful death claim may arise out of a number of circumstances:
· Medical malpractice that results in decedent’s death
· Automobile, plane, or some other mode of transportation accident
· Occupational exposure to hazardous conditions or substances
· Death during a supervised activity
If a loved one has died after an accident or serious injury caused by the negligence or misconduct of another individual, company or entity, it is recommended that you retain a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. There are time limitations (statutes of limitations) in filing your wrongful death lawsuit.
Some of the types of cases related to wrongful death that attorneys handle include:
· Automobile accidents
· Trucking accidents
· Motorcycle accidents
· Work-related accidents
· Deaths due to defective products
· Deaths due to dangerous drugs
· Medical malpractice
· Drunk drivers
Financial injury is the primary measure of damages in a wrongful death action. Financial damages may include loss of support, lost prospect of inheritance, loss of services, and medical and funeral expenses. Most laws provide that the damages awarded for wrongful death be fair and just compensation for the financial injuries that resulted from your loved one’s death. In many cases of wrongful death, punitive damages are also paid to the family of the deceased.
The unfortunate situation of handling a loved ones death creates much emotional distress. If your loved one has died at the fault of another, you may feel the need to seek justice and ensure the person involved ‘pays a price’ for your loss. Experienced wrongful death attorneys can help you determine if you have a wrongful death case.
Wrongful death laws, and the statute of limitations surrounding the filing of a claim, vary by state. For this reason, we highly suggest you seek legal representation from an attorney knowledgeable of laws for the state in which your loved one died. Generally, the time limit for filing a wrongful death claim depends on who and what caused the death; typically, the limit is two years from the date of accident or death.
If someone you love has died and you feel you have grounds to file a wrongful death suit, you need experienced legal counsel handling the complicated aspects of this type of lawsuit.
The dedicated attorneys and staff at Robert J. Dewey, P.A. understand how difficult a time this is for you and are sensitive to your special circumstances. While no amount of compensation can bring your loved one back, we will work hard to uncover the evidence needed to win your case and make sure you are taken care of in the future. Please call or email today for a free consultation.