Wrongful Death Claims: What You Need To Know

Wrongful Death Claims

A wrongful death claim is made by a family member who lost a spouse, child or parent due to the wrongful act of another. Learn the basics of what you need to know in order to file a successful suit, including who may be eligible for compensation and how much you may be entitled to receive, in our article!

Introduction

When a death is caused by the negligence of another, the survivors may be able to file a wrongful death claim. This type of claim can be filed against individuals, companies, or even government entities.

Wrongful death claims are complex, and it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side. The first step in pursuing a claim is to determine who is responsible for the death. Once liability has been established, the next step is to prove that the death was caused by the negligence of the liable party.

In order to recover damages, the survivors must show that they have suffered financial losses as a result of the death. This can include funeral and burial expenses, lost income, and medical bills. The court will also consider non-economic damages, such as pain and suffering and loss of companionship.

If you have lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation. Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney to discuss your legal options.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

In order to file a wrongful death claim, certain elements must be met. 

First, you must be able to prove that the death was caused by another person or entity’s negligence or wrongful act. 

Second, you must be able to show that the deceased would have been able to file a personal injury claim had they not died as a result of the accident. 

Lastly, certain family members must be designated as plaintiffs in the case. 

If you are able to meet these criteria, then you may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. These claims can be incredibly complex, so it is important to seek out experienced legal help. A Wrongful death attorney from Racine can help you navigate the process and ensure that your rights are protected.

Types of Wrongful Death Claims

There are three main types of wrongful death claims:

  1. Negligence: This is the most common type of wrongful death claim. It occurs when someone dies as a result of another person or entity’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness. For example, if a doctor prescribes the wrong medication and the patient dies as a result, the doctor may be held liable for negligence.
  2. Intentional: An intentional wrongful death claim can be filed if someone is killed as a result of another person’s deliberate actions. For example, if someone is killed in a hit-and-run accident, the driver may be charged with intentional homicide.
  3. Strict liability: A strict liability wrongful death claim can be filed if someone is killed as a result of another person or entity’s defective product or dangerous activity. For example, if a person is killed by a faulty airbag, the car manufacturer may be held strictly liable for the death.

Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

In a wrongful death claim, damages are typically economic and non-economic.

Economic damages include:

  • Medical expenses incurred prior to death
  • Funeral and burial expenses
  • Loss of earnings and benefits the deceased would have earned had they not died
  • Loss of inheritance

Non-economic damages include:

  • Pain and suffering from the deceased prior to death 
  • Mental anguish and emotional distress of the surviving family members 
  • Loss of love, companionship, comfort, care, assistance, protection, affection, society, or moral support

How Much Can You Get in a Wrongful Death Claim?

When a loved one dies due to the negligence of another, the survivors may be able to file a wrongful death claim. But how much can you get in a wrongful death claim?

The amount of money you can receive in a wrongful death claim depends on many factors, including the state in which you file the claim, the relationship between the deceased and the survivors, and the expenses incurred as a result of the death.

In most states, spouses and children are able to recover damages in a wrongful death claim. The amount of damages they can recover will depend on their relationship to the deceased and their financial dependence on the deceased.

Parents may also be able to recover damages in a wrongful death claim if they were financially dependent on their child.

Siblings may be able to recover damages if they were close to the deceased and can show that they have suffered emotionally as a result of the death.

The costs of funeral and burial expenses can also be recovered in a wrongful death claim. In some cases, survivors may also be able to recover damages for lost wages if the deceased was breadwinner of the family.

Punitive damages may also be available in some cases where the defendant’s actions were particularly reckless or egregious. However, punitive damages are not available in all states and are often capped at a certain amount.

Who Is Liable in a Wrongful Death Claim?

When a death is caused by the negligent or intentional actions of another person or entity, the surviving family members may have grounds for a wrongful death claim. But who is actually considered liable in a wrongful death claim?

Generally, any person or entity whose negligence or intentional actions led to the death of another can be held liable in a wrongful death claim. This can include individuals, like drivers in car accidents, as well as companies or organizations, like hospitals, that provide substandard care.

In some cases, multiple parties may be held liable for a single death. For example, if a drunk driver hits and kills a pedestrian, both the driver and the bar that served him alcohol may be held liable.

The specific parties that can be held liable in a wrongful death claim will depend on the circumstances of the case. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you investigate who may be responsible for your loved one’s death and build a strong case against them.

When Can You File a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim can be filed by the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased. The claim must be filed within two years of the date of death. 

The surviving spouse, children, or parents of the deceased may file a wrongful death claim if they can prove that the death was caused by someone else’s negligence or intentional act. In order to file a claim, they must do so within two years of the date of death. 

Proving that someone else’s negligence or intentional act caused the death can be difficult. An experienced attorney can help you gather evidence and build a strong case. If you are considering filing a wrongful death claim, contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal options.

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