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Who Can Bring A Wrongful Death Lawsuit? | How Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work

Car accidents can be a very stressful situation for people to deal with.

Out of seeming nowhere, a day just like any other gets turned upside down.

Your car is damaged, you are likely injured, and you will have 1,000 other things to deal with like insurance, lawyers, medical bills, and bills to repair your car.

In extreme car accidents, people pay the ultimate price of their life.

Nearly 1.25 million people around the globe lose their lives in car accidents every year.

A large amount of those fatalities are wrongful deaths.

Wrongful death claims are brought against a defendant who has caused someone's death, either through negligence or as a result of intentional action.

Wrongful deaths allow the estate or those close to the deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death.

Though each states wrongful death laws vary, these kinds of lawsuits are usually filed by a representative of the deceased person's estate, often on behalf of those affected by the death.

In the article below, we'll find out what a wrongful death lawsuit is, and who can bring a wrongful death lawsuit.

Table of Contents

What is a wrongful death?

When Is A Wrongful Death Applicable?

A wrongful death claim can arise after situations in which a victim who would otherwise have a personal injury claim is killed as a result of the defendant's wrongful action.

This can occur in a variety of situations, including:

Car accident fatalities. These are the incidents we will focus on today, but there are several other instances where a wrongful death may apply.

In this case, if a victim dies as the result of car accident injuries, a wrongful death claim may be brought.

When someone is intentionally killed. The most obvious example of this is when someone is on trial for the murder, or wrongful deaths, of their victims.

The victim's families bring these civil lawsuits are separate from the state's criminal case against the defendant.

Medical malpractice. If a doctor fails to diagnose a condition, or if the doctor is careless in the level of care that was provided, and a patient dies as a result, a wrongful death action might be possible.

These are just a few examples of personal injury cases that can turn into wrongful death claims.

If someone is injured in a car accident and dies from the injuries, a wrongful death claim is almost always applicable.

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What Has To Be Proven?

To hold a defendant liable in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiffs in the claim must meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet if the victim lived.

Using negligence as an example, this means showing that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, that the defendant breached this duty, that the breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of the death, and that the death caused the damages that the plaintiff is trying to recover.

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Who Can File A Wrongful Death Claim?

More often than not, a wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim, on behalf of survivors who had a relationship with the victim.

The laws vary from state to state about who exactly the survivors can be.

In every state, though, a spouse can bring a wrongful death action on behalf of their deceased spouse.

A parent of minors can bring a wrongful death action is one of their children is killed, and minors can bring a wrongful death action if their parents are killed.

The laws start to vary when it comes to the parents of adult children bringing a wrongful death claim, if adult children can sue for the wrongful death of their parents, or if extended relatives can bring wrongful death claims.

The more distant the familial relationship is, the harder it will be to bring a wrongful death action.

In some states, the romantic partner of the deceased may bring a wrongful death claim as can anyone else who can show financial dependence on the deceased.

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Wrongful Death Damages

There are various damages that can be claimed for compensation in a wrongful death claim.

They include, but are not limited to:

  • Loss of the deceased person's expected income
  • Loss of any inheritance as a result of the death
  • Loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the deceased would have provided
  • Loss of love and companionship, and
  • Loss of consortium.
  • Value of the services that the deceased would have provided
  • The deceased person's pre-death "pain and suffering" (this is often called a "survival" claim).
  • The medical treatment costs that the deceased victim incurred as a result of the injury prior to death
  • Funeral and burial costs

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An experienced attorney will help you through this difficult situation

Get What You Deserve

If someone important to you was killed due to someone else's negligence, you or their family deserves fair compensation.

The last thing you need to worry about when dealing with the death of someone you love is how to cover the expenses of the death and to be able to support yourself without them.

That should be left to an experienced personal injury attorney so you can mourn their death and start the healing process.

The experienced lawyers at Helping The Hurt can help you through this difficult situation.

Click the button below to get started.

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Topics: car accident wrongful death