When Is a Wrongful Death Claim Appropriate?

What is a wrongful death lawsuit? This is a type of legal action that can be taken on behalf of someone who was recently killed by someone else’s negligent actions. It is the loved ones of the deceased who will file this kind of lawsuit. The purpose of this claim is to receive financial compensation for everything the victim had to suffer and the loved ones’ own suffering. There is a lot for someone in this situation to know before filing, however.

Who Can File?

Only people who have a certain kind of relationship with the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The state you live in affects this limitation. In all states, however, these individuals can file:

  • The parents of child victims
  • The children of parent victims
  • The spouses of victims

All of these individuals may also be able to file, depending on the specific limitations of the state:

  • The parents of adult victims
  • The adult offspring of parent victims
  • The siblings of victims
  • The extended family of victims

What Causes of Death Are Applicable?

There are three broad situations where wrongful death is the appropriate type of lawsuit to file. The first is when the death was caused accidentally by negligence. For example, if someone causes a car accident which results in someone’s death, the family of the victim can file a wrongful death claim against that individual.

The second situation is when the death was caused accidentally by medical malpractice. Essentially, if the medical care the victim received was not as good as it should have been, the doctor can be held responsible through a wrongful death claim.

The third situation is when the death was caused intentionally. A criminal trial will be held, but the loved ones of the victim can file a civil lawsuit as well to receive compensation. The two court cases will not affect the outcome of the other, and they can have different resolutions.

What Damages Can You Claim?

Any type of suffering that both the victim and the loved ones of the victim had to endure can be claimed as damages. This includes the physical pain the victim suffered prior to death, as well as any financial expenses related to the injury that was spent prior to death, such as medical bills. On the family’s side of the equation, claims for emotional distress, loss of support, and loss of companionship are all valid. A wrongful death attorney, like a wrongful death lawyer in Orlando, FL, can give you more information about what damages in your situation you can claim.

Thanks to Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. for their insight into when a wrongful death claim is appropriate.