Pursuing a Wrongful Death Claim
If someone close to you dies due to the fault of another person, you have the right to file a wrongful death claim. This lawsuit seeks compensation for the survivor’s loss.
What is a wrongful death claim?
A wrong death claim can be filed when one person dies due to another’s fault. A representative files this claim on behalf of the person who suffers because of the deceased’s death. An executor of the deceased’s estate usually files the claim. The parties of interest in this case vary from one state to another. Some of them include:
- Immediate family members – immediate family members, such as children and spouses can recover in wrongful death cases.
- Life partners and financial dependents – in some states, a life partner and persons who were financially dependent on the decedent have a right to recovery.
- Distant family members – other states even allow extended family members such as siblings and grandparents to file a wrongful death claim. For instance, a grandfather who is raising a child can bring a wrongful death suit on behalf of the deceased.
- Parents of a deceased fetus – in some cases, the death of a fetus can be the basis for a wrongful death suit. In other states, parents cannot file a wrongful death suit for the death of a fetus.
What is required to establish wrong death claims?
The elements needed to prove a wrong death claim alleging simple negligence are: causation, damages, duty, and breach of duty. You, the plaintiff, have the burden of persuasion or proof. The elements of a wrongful death suit usually include the classic negligence elements and proving that the legal beneficiaries are entitled to share the recovery.
What damages are recoverable?
The damages recoverable in a wrong death claim include:
- Compensation for pain and suffering
- Funeral expenses
- Expenses for care, treatment, and hospitalization
Immunity for government employees and agencies
In some cases, certain agencies or employees may be immune to wrongful death suits. This means that you cannot sue them for wrongful death. If you find yourself in such a situation, you will not be able to recover.
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