What to Know About Suing for Wrongful Death
Fatalities occur for various reasons, and are typically unexpected by victims. When a fatal accident occurs, or a person is killed due to someone else’s negligence, the surviving family members may sue for “wrongful death”. Many wrongful death cases occur after criminal trials, using similar evidence, with a lower standard of proof, as a means to understand the nature of the death. A person held responsible for wrongful death may or may not be convicted of a crime, associated with the death. An attorney suing for wrongful death may attempt to obtain compensation for additional damages, including the family’s pain and suffering, or expenses incurred before the defendant’s death occurred.
In order for a successful wrongful death case, the following factors must exist:
-a person’s death
-the death was caused by someones negligence, or someone’s intent to harm
-the surviving family members are seeking monetary compensation, due to the death
A wrongful death lawsuit may arise from the following circumstances:
-medical malpractice which caused the death
-automobile, motorcycle, pedestrian, cruise ship, theme park, or airplane accident
-workplace accident that may be caused from a vehicle accident or hazardous substance exposure
Various damages may be a result from a wrongful death. The most common measures of damages include pecuniary, financial, or injury. “Pecuniary” injuries include the loss of support, services, lost prospect of inheritance, medical bills, and funeral expenses. Depending on the state, many laws state that the wrongful death damages must be fair compensation for the pecuniary damages, that occurred due to the wrongful death. Pecuniary damages are awarded depending on decedent’s age, character, his/her earning capacity, life expectancy, health, and intelligence. The jury determines the amount of compensation that the defendant’s family should be awarded. The court may adjust this amount for various reasons.
Punitive damages come into play for lawsuits that involve serious or malicious wrongdoing, to punish the wrongdoer. In states that do not acknowledge or do acknowledge punitive damages in wrongful death actions, courts hold punitive damages permissible. Your personal injury attorney will inform you whether or not your state acknowledges punitive damages.
The plaintiff may be able to recover damages for personal injury to the decedent, called “survival actions”. The decedent’s personal representative can bring an action together for the wrongful death action, for the benefit of the decedent’s estate. In wrongful death cases, countless factors come into play in the court of law. A personal injury attorney with extensive experience in wrongful death should be hired, due to the complex, extensive nature of wrongful death cases. When hiring a personal injury attorney, in addition to experience, seek someone who explains the process to you, and is eager to obtain the compensation you deserve for the wrongful loss of your loved one.
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