Wrongful Death Lawyer
The loss of a loved one is always difficult, but it can be even more so when that person is taken because of the negligence or wrongdoing of another. Under these circumstances, the victim’s family or estate may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Originally created for widows and orphans, wrongful death lawsuits can now apply to a variety of cases and are filed against the party responsible for the death, whether it is an individual or company.
1. What Constitutes Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death applies to a victim who is killed due to another’s carelessness, recklessness or intentionally wrongful act. Lawsuits for these can span a broad range of fatal acts:
- Medical malpractice
- Car accidents
- Workplace liability
- Animal bites
Anyone from a drunk driver to a negligent doctor to a company that exposed its employees to asbestos may be sued if someone’s death results from their misconduct.
2. Who Can Sue?
This varies from state to state, particularly when the suing survivors of the victim are more distant family (e.g. grandparents or cousins). Most states generally agree that close family has rights to sue, including the victim’s spouse, parents of killed minors and minors of deceased parents.
3. What Damages Can Be Claimed?
A loved one can never be replaced, but a wrongful death lawsuit can recover money that is considered equal to the loss of life. The damages are usually split into economic and non-economic categories, allowing for the family of the deceased to recover money spent on medical treatment and funeral costs, as well as loss of the victim’s remaining life, companionship and any suffering he or she might have endured before death. It can also replace future lost income if the survivors were dependent on the deceased.
4. What Can a Wrongful Death Lawyer Do?
A lawful death lawyer deals specifically with these kinds of cases. It can be especially difficult to deal with your grief and the need to file a wrongful death claim simultaneously, so hiring an experienced attorney can relinquish this burden while you take necessary time to mourn. A lawyer can analyze your case and account for complex laws surrounding wrongful death that can easily be misunderstood.
While you may not want to deal with a lawsuit after the death of a loved one, it is better to act sooner rather than later, as many states have a statute of limitations for filing a claim after death. Hiring an attorney can leave the busywork to him or her while you handle more immediate affairs, like funeral arrangements and familial matters.