When an individual dies in an accident that he or she did not cause, his or her death is ruled to be a wrongful death. This means that another party caused the victim’s death through negligence or reckless behavior.
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What is wrongful death?
Wrongful death is when someone dies due to the fault of another person or entity, like a company. People, companies, and government agencies can be legally at fault for acting negligently, for failing to act as a reasonable person would have acted, and for intentional acts that cause harm.
A wrongful death claim is a special kind of personal injury lawsuit that is made when a person is killed due to another party’s negligence. This type of lawsuit seeks financial compensation for the survivors’ losses including lost wages from the deceased person, expenses including funeral and burial expenses, and lost companionship.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim is filed by a representative on behalf of the survivors who have suffered damages from the death. These survivors can be:
- Immediate family members including adopted children and parents of unmarried children;
- Life partners and financial dependents;
- In some states, distant family members like siblings and grandparents;
- In some states, any person who suffers a financial loss from the death.
Who may be sued for a wrongful death?
Many people, companies, and agencies can be named in a wrongful death lawsuit, depending on their roles in the fatal incident. These can include:
- The at-fault driver in a car crash;
- The person or company that sold alcohol to a drunk driver who caused a collision;
- The parole officer who should have been supervising a parolee who drove drunk;
- The government agency that designed a dangerous roadway that contributed to a crash.
To successfully complete a wrongful death suit, the plaintiffs, (the deceased person’s survivors) must prove that the at-fault party owed a duty of care to the deceased, and that they failed in that duty which was the cause of the death, and that the death caused the damages that the plaintiffs are attempting to recover.
Wrongful death claims are complicated and emotionally difficult for the surviving family members. It is always advisable to find an experienced personal injury attorney to handle a wrongful death claim, so that families can focus on healing and moving forward in life as best they can.
Monetary damages and jail time are the way we hold people accountable for their negligent actions in modern society.
What money does though, is help you take care of the financial problems that often result without your loved one’s income.
Wrongful death suits can arise out of multiple different situations including defective or mislabeled products, automobile accidents, medical malpractice, workplace or occupational hazard and intentional criminal actions.
The lawsuit alleges that Pennsylvania Ambulance failed to properly train their employees to assess patients, and, therefore, the company is grossly negligent. According to the lawsuit, the family is seeking damages on five counts, including negligent infliction of emotional distress and wrongful death.
Perhaps most importantly, you yourself must grieve and celebrate the life of the departed loved one. The last thing you want to do is think about a lawyer or a possible lawsuit. HOWEVER, the time period immediately following a tragic death can be critical when it comes to protecting the rights of the decedent and his or her surviving family.
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A wrongful death claim is essentially a civil lawsuit that arises when the acts of one person (their negligence) causes the death of another person.
But compensation can be an important way to seek justice and to pay for the expenses resulting from your loved one's death. Generally speaking, the following parties are eligible to file a wrongful death claim...
If no family members pursue a case within 3 months and no survivors expressly indicate a desire to forgo a lawsuit, then the deceased’s executor can do so.
If you do decide that you must pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, however, it is important to ensure that you include these four items in your case...
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After an automobile accident, especially when someone has died, it's natural to feel overwhelmed and uncertain about what happens next. Bill Coats Law, in Bellingham Washington, has put together a YouTube Channel to answer some common question in hopes to help accident victims start on the right path to full financial recovery. Click here to get the answers you need.
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