A wrongful death is a special type of death claim or lawsuit associated with an intentional act or negligent action of someone that results in death. Since the plaintiff is deceased, the person’s estate or family is allowed to bring a claim against the legally liable party for the death of the deceased. Because the surviving members are affected by the death of the loved one, the representative is deemed able to make legal claims on the deceased’s behalf to right the wrong inflicted by the illegal action that resulted in his or her death. Here are some facts you should know about wrongful death lawsuits.
If the victim was killed intentionally, the family or estate can make a claim against the perpetrator in civil court. If a doctor, medical staff, or hospital is responsible for medical malpractice, the careless nature of the responsible person is the one a claim is made against for the death. A wrongful death caused during a car accident that involved negligence will also qualify for a claim of wrongful death.
Each state has its own laws regarding the specifications and standards that must be met to establish a burden of proof against the negligent or intentional actions of the responsible individual for wrongful death. However, if a victim was owed a certain standard of care that was breached, and if death occurred as a result, proof can likely be established.
Damages for wrongful death vary by state, but there are compensation categories that are considered to be legal and undeniable rights. These categories include:
- Funeral costs, including burial expenses
- Pain and suffering endured by the plaintiff
- All medical costs and treatment expenses associated with the injury prior to death
- Loss of plaintiff’s future income
- Loss of consortium
Some states also allow for inheritance loss, mental suffering of the relatives, and loss of family quality of life. Many of these claims for damages can be difficult to prove, so it is invaluable to have an experienced and qualified wrongful death lawyer to help you file any wrongful death claim you may have.
Wrongful deaths are subject to the state or government statutes of limitations, so make sure you contact a wrongful death lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer in Des Moines, IA, during the first few months after another harmed your loved one. The standard time a claim may be filed is up to three years, but a claim can be barred if it is late, even by just one day.
Thanks to Johnston and Martineau, LLP for their insight into a few things you should know about wrongful death lawsuits.