Each year, about 170,000 people pass away from an unintentional injury or accident. These tragic events affect more than the person who suffers the wrongful death. It’s the deceased’s loved ones who are left to pick up the pieces.
One option is to file a wrongful death case. This type of case gives people a legal course of action when someone from their family passes away. This guide will explain what this type of lawsuit is, who can file one, and the possible compensation.
What Is Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit is one that you bring against another party on behalf of the person who passed away. You’ll need to show that the other party’s negligent acts caused the death. It could be almost anything, from a dog attack to an on the job accident, or even a motor vehicle accident.
Who Can Make a Wrongful Death Claim?
The specific requirements can vary from state to state. Generally, you need to have a special relationship with the deceased. This means parents, children, and surviving spouses have a right to bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Once one person files the claim, other eligible family members can join.
What Are the Statute of Limitations?
You only have so much time to file your claim after the person passes away. Once this time passes, you’re barred from filing. The time you have to file can range from a couple of months to several years.
Many states provide an alternative at this point. If the statute of limitations passes and no one files, then many states allow the executor of the decedent’s estate to file on behalf of the beneficiaries.
What Damages Can You Claim?
The damages that you’re allowed to claim can vary from state to state. There are a few types of damages that most states will allow. You’ll need to consult with an attorney for the exact damages allowed in your state.
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of household services
- Loss of society & companionship
- Mental anguish
- Loss of inheritance
Why You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney
While the above may sound relatively simple, the law is rarely this easy to determine. Consulting a lawyer is a must because they can give you more information on the specific laws of your state. They can also analyze the specific details of your case and advise you of the best course of action.
1) Know the Law
A lawyer will know the more detailed points of law. This makes them more capable of arguing your case, which gives you better odds of success.
2) Know Potential Value
An experienced lawyer will be able to evaluate your claim and explain the potential value of your claim. Compensation awards can vary widely from one case to the next. A lawyer will know how to show how the loss has impacted your family.
3) Should You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you’ve recently suffered the loss of a family member due to the negligence of someone else, then you may have a wrongful death case. The best thing to do is act quickly and speak to an attorney. This will ensure you don’t miss your opportunity due to the statute of limitations.
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