The loss of life is always unfortunate. When you lose a loved one, it is a tragedy that devastates those who are close to the deceased. This tragedy hits even harder when the death is caused by someone’s carelessness. Loved ones are left to grapple with unexpected financial expenses all while trying to process the death of the person they cared for. They also grapple with the question of who is responsible. Sometimes families begin looking into filing wrongful death lawsuits when an event like this happens. Here is a look at all of your options in a potential wrongful death case.
What is Wrongful Death
Many people who are contemplating filing a wrongful death lawsuit are unaware of what constitutes wrongful death. With laws being bogged down with loads of legal jargon, it can be confusing to learn if your case even applies. For this reason, it is necessary to define wrongful death in order for the public to get a better understanding.
Wrongful death is when someone dies as the result of negligence and the negligent party is legally liable for that death. Negligence can be defined in several ways. For the purpose of the law, negligence can involve carelessness by a medical professional, driver, or intentional killing. Medical carelessness is when a doctor fails to perform a “decent level” of care to a patient who is suffering from life-threatening injuries.
Negligence also includes when a person is killed in a motor vehicle accident caused by a careless driver. Careless driving practices include driving while under the influence, and not abiding by the state’s driving laws. Another form of negligence is when an individual intentionally kills someone. It is important to note that these cases can also be tried in criminal court and it is separate from civil wrongful death cases.
How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
If you think that you or someone you know has a case in a wrongful death lawsuit, the next step is understanding how to file these cases. There are regulations on who can file these lawsuits on behalf of the deceased person. Currently, only spouses, certain family members and those who are financially dependent on the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
In order to win a wrongful death lawsuit, there needs to be some proof to the allegations. This can be documentation that shows that the deceased was owed some kind of care by the defendant. Documentation must prove that the acts or lack thereof by the defendant led to the death of the victim. This failure to perform duties can be shown as an act of carelessness or negligence that causes the wrongful death of the deceased.
When someone loses a loved one it is usually hard on the person emotionally. Outside of the emotional trauma that death can cause it can be financially draining as well. “When a family loses a financial contributor, especially a breadwinner, they can be left to figure out how they will make ends meet,” says personal injury attorney Tyson Mutrux. “Therefore, families who have a loved one who was a victim of wrongful death may be entitled to some form of financial compensation.”
Make sure you understand your options if you are considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit. It is always important to contact your lawyer and seek legal advice on your case.
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