What You Should Know About Wrongful Death Lawsuits
A wrongful death claim occurs when a person or organization is responsible for the death of another. If you feel that you have the right to file one after suffering the loss of a loved one, it is important you understand whether or not you have the right to sue, who you can sue, and what you have to prove.
Why Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the survivors of the decedent. Multiple suits cannot be filed, so it is important that you and your family come to understanding on who will file the suit. In many instances, the executor is the one who files on behalf of the estate.
Legally, only certain people are eligible to file the lawsuit. For instance, immediate family members, life partners, and financial dependents. In some states, a distant family member, such as a grandparent, is also allowed to file. If you are the parent of a fetus that died due to negligence, you can also file the lawsuit.
Who Can You Sue?
You can sue the person, business, or government agency you feel that is responsible for the death of your loved one. For instance, if your loved one is killed by a company truck that ran a light, you can sue both the driver of the truck and the company that employed him or her.
In some instances, you can sue another person or business that is seemingly not directed connected to the death. For instance, if your loved one dies in an accident caused by a drunk driver, you can sue the bar that provided the alcohol to the driver. The thought is that the bar had a responsibility to not continue to serve the driver after it became apparent that he or she was incapacitated.
What Do You Have to Prove?
In a wrongful death case, you have to prove that the person or business that caused the death of your loved one was negligent and that as a result, your loved one died. For instance, you could argue that the decedent's employer was negligent because it did not provide safe work conditions which led to the death of your loved one.
You have to also prove the damages that were suffered. In wrongful death cases, that can include loss wages, funeral expenses, loss of companionship, and the monetary value of services provided by the decedent, such as caring for a child and maintaining a home.
There are many other aspects of wrongful death claims that need to be considered before filing a claim. Contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible so that you can get help assessing your case and the damages you are owed.