The death of a loved one is never easy. When a death occurs through negligence or misconduct of another person, grief can be compounded. Survivors are left wondering if the person responsible shouldn’t pay for the funeral expenses, the lost wages and loss of companionship. A wrongful death claim is a legal action that attempts to hold the negligent party accountable.
Wrongful death laws vary from state to state. There may limits on how much compensation a survivor can receive. Most states have laws that determine who can bring a wrongful death claim. Generally, it’s the spouse, children, or parents of the deceased. In some cases, dependent parents can sue the negligent party. The deceased’s estate typically brings the lawsuit to the courts, by one representative of the person.
How Can You Prove Wrongful Death?
If you think your loved one died due to negligence, to bring a lawsuit against the other party, you need to show four elements:
- The death of a person occurred.
- The death was caused by someone else’s negligence or with intent to harm.
- Surviving family members have financial damages as a result of the death.
- That the personal representative bringing the case to the court is representative of the person’s estate.
Some of these elements may be easy to prove, while others may take experts to demonstrate, such as the economic loss of an individual. Wrongful death suits include deaths due to a DUI or a criminal action. If a person dies because of medical malpractice, it might fall under wrongful death claims. Some deaths that occur in the workplace may be a wrongful death, but it depends on many circumstances.
What Type of Lawyer Do You Need?
Wrongful death claims are complex legal actions that need a lawyer to take the family through the process in a timely and experienced fashion. Although most wrongful death lawsuits don’t go to a jury trial, the settlement negotiations are complicated and involve many different elements.
Wrongful death lawyers usually work on a contingency basis, which means that you don’t pay the lawyer until the case is finalized. The lawyer takes on the burden of the expenses until you receive payment. Once the settlement is received, the lawyer takes out the expenses and their fees before giving you your amount.
If you believe your loved one died out of the negligence of others, you should discuss your situation with an experienced wrongful death lawyer who can help you take the right steps to protect your rights and the case.