In legal terms, wrongful death is ‘the death of a human being as the result of a wrongful act of another person. Such wrongful acts include negligence (like careless driving), an intentional attack such as assault and/or battery, a death in the course of another crime, vehicular manslaughter, manslaughter or murder’.
When a relative’s death was caused by another person’s wrongful act or failure to act, surviving family members may be entitled to monetary compensation.
Some of the cases involve criminal acts. We need to understand the difference between criminal and civil lawsuits. In a criminal case, a government prosecutor seeks to punish the guilty for his/her offense. When found guilty, he/she faces imprisonment. A criminal prosecution focuses on the harm to society.
In a wrongful death case, the emphasis is on the damage caused to a family due to the death of a family member. The guilty must compensate for the loss caused to family members and this can be ensured with the help of a personal injury accident lawyer.
Wrongful Death Claims
Law attorney represents families in claims caused by
- Motor vehicle accident
- Fires, including inhalation of smoke and toxic gases
- Poisoning with drugs or other toxic chemicals.
- Firearms, including accidents and intentional acts
People who are found responsible for causing wrongful death, might not have intended to cause harm. Their carelessness, negligence or recklessness could have caused harm to the other person. Even failing to act may be enough to establish liability depending on the legal duty imposed on certain classes of individuals or entities.
Legal Processes Involved
The fault must be established first. In case of complex accidents, it can be difficult to determine who is to blame. In such situations, it is important to reach out for an experienced wrongful death lawyer. He/she will investigate the accident and analyze liability.
Determining the Person Who Can File the Claim
Before filing a wrongful death claim, the person filing the claim should have the right to do so. The claim will be dismissed if not so. You must have a close family relation with the deceased, or you must be their spouse, parent or child. Siblings, grandparents, cousins or fiancé don’t have to right to file a wrongful death claim.
You have the right to seek both economic and non-economic damages.
During a wrongful death you can ask for
- Medical costs
- Funeral and burial expenses
- The loss of your loved one’s financial contribution to the family
- The loss of inheritance you might have received, had your loved one lived longer
- The loss of care, support, maintenance, advice and counsel from your loved one
Filing the Lawsuit in Time
With all the trauma, it will be difficult to face the legal proceedings. You cannot take too long to hire an attorney. The wrongful death cases come with a time-frame within which the case should be filed in the court of law.
Considering Settlement Options
You might receive a settlement offer from the defendant. It is up to you whether to accept the settlement or not. You can always go to trail, if you are not satisfied with defendant’s offer.