Understanding a Wrongful Death Claim

It’s never easy to deal with the passing of a loved one. It can be especially difficult when someone you care about dies suddenly because of someone else’s negligence, disregard or deliberate actions. Whether or not the offending party is held criminally responsible for the incident, you may still be at liberty to claim that the person or organization was to blame for your loved one’s death. Such a claim is a civil action and may be used to hold the party accountable and recover damages. Usually, the person’s survivors bring the claim, though the person’s executor and others may file a lawsuit as well.

Types of Claims

In order for a court to consider a wrongful death lawsuit to be legitimate, the decedent would have needed a valid personal injury claim had he or she survived. Many wrongful death claims are on the grounds that another person’s actions caused the death. This usually coincides with a criminal murder charge where the claim states someone else deliberately killed the loved on. Other common wrongful death claims are medical malpractice lawsuits. In these, the plaintiff claims that mistakes in treatment, surgery or medication resulted in the loved one’s passing. This may also include when a doctor makes the wrong diagnosis or fails to make one at all, thus not allowing the person to get the proper help for his or her condition. Workplace deaths and car accidents are also frequent wrongful death claims.

Proving Negligence

If you file a wrongful death lawsuit, you and your attorney must prove to the court that the accused party deliberately caused the death. Your attorney may do this by showing that a doctor made a critical error in judgment or failed in his or her duty of care. In a car accident, your attorney may attempt to prove that the other driver was under the influence, breaking traffic laws (such as speeding, running a red light or driving while texting) or trying to purposely hit your loved one.

Seeking Damages

The lawsuit not only seeks to hold the other person responsible, but it seeks damages. These may include compensation for medical bills, funeral and burial costs, loss of the person’s income, loss of any inheritance you expected from the family member or loss of love, companionship and support that the person would have given.

Make sure you understand these elements when you consider filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Your attorney, like a Newark Personal Injury Attorney, will have the skill and experience you can rely on to bring you some comfort during a difficult time.

Thank you to Rispoli & Borneo P.C. for their insight into personal injury law.