Wrongful death – Everything you should know about filling a claim

Posted on Aug 24, 2017


When a family member is dying unexpectedly, of course, all of us are feeling betrayed by those entities or individuals who should take care of them, due to negligence or misconduct. Although grieving, other family members are entitled in these situations to some kind of compensation from the party that caused the tragic event. Nevertheless, these are legal actions, developed in a court, so the family members cannot act by themselves. In this case, hiring a wrongful dead accident lawyer becomes mandatory. It will somehow guarantee the success of the action in court. Although many tend not to separate the two, a case like this is distinct from criminal charges, being only a civil action. But more about these cases, in the following paragraphs.

1. Which circumstances can conduct to such a case?

The circumstances surrounding the death of a loved one that could conduct to such a case vary a lot.

  • Medical malpractice;
  • Motor vehicle accidents;
  • Criminal activity;
  • Manufacturing defects;
  • Toxic torts.

Each state on USA territory may have a different stats of wrongful death situations, and in some cases some agencies many have immunity regarding such charges. Thus, before considering a similar case, make sure to check in with a professional lawyer with experience in the field.

2. Who must fill in the claim?

As previously mentioned, it all depends on the state in which you find yourself in. Depending on it, a representative will fill it, on behalf of the eligible survivors of the incident. These survivors are called “real parties in interest”, but once again, their eligibility depends from state to state. Better check in with a professional lawyer and see if you are an eligible party, first. But as a general rule, real parties in interest could be considered the deceased:

  • Children;
  • Spouses;
  • Parents of unmarried children.

In several states, it would be possible for financial dependent parties and putative spouses to act upon the negligent party in court.

3. Do I need a legal representative?

Yes, parties suing for wrongful death, regardless of the circumstances in which it occurred, must be represented by a professional in court. They will recover all the damaged produced to the descendants by proving that the death occurred as a medical negligence, accident or other circumstances for which another party is guilty of, and which could be prevented. The damage recovered may be either economic or non-economic.

  • Economic damages – include medical bills and funeral expenses, lost household, out-of-pocket expenses, loss support of income, as well as lost prospects of inheritance.
  • Non-economic damages – include compensation for the pain and suffering caused by the wrongful death.

Also, in many states, the family of the deceased may be entitled to some kind of “survival action” in case that the person doesn’t die immediately.

As you can easily notice, regardless of the circumstances in which a tragic event like this occurs, the remaining family members need a representative for their actions, which is a specialized lawyer. Thus, make sure to select the right one.