There are few things more traumatic and heartbreaking than the unexpected loss of a loved one. For many families, a death caused by the negligence or intentional act of another person could constitute a wrongful death lawsuit. Depending on the circumstances, families may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party for compensation and to find some semblance of justice.
Understanding Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is defined as the death of a person caused by the wrongful act, negligence, default, or breach of contract or warranty of another person. This means that if someone’s death was caused by someone else’s careless or intentional actions, their family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It’s a civil action that allows the decedent’s family to seek compensation for their losses. For example, if a driver runs a red light and, as a result, they strike and kill a pedestrian, the victim’s family may be able to sue the driver for wrongful death.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Generally speaking, only the personal representative of the decedent’s estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit. The personal representative is the person who is responsible for managing the decedent’s assets and liabilities after their death and largely depends on the estate plan created by the decedent prior to their passing. Without a will or estate documents, the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit usually lies with the next of kin. This may vary from state to state, so be sure to discuss your options with a local personal injury attorney.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In a wrongful death lawsuit, certain family members of the decedent can recover damages for their losses. These damages can be categorized into two main types:
Economic Damages – These damages compensate the family for the financial losses they have suffered as a result of the decedent’s death. This can include lost wages, lost benefits, and funeral expenses. Calculating economic damages requires a thorough examination of the decedent’s financial contributions to the family and potentially additional financial hardship caused by the associated medical bills.
Non-economic Damages – These damages compensate the family for the emotional and psychological losses they have suffered as a result of the decedent’s death. This can include grief, pain and suffering, and loss of companionship. Although this can be considered subjective, a personal injury attorney can assist in giving the court a better idea of the full impact of the death, and all aspects of loss are considered while damages are calculated.
Work with Compassionate Legal Support
Losing a loved one is an incredibly heartbreaking experience. During this difficult time, you deserve compassionate legal support to navigate the complexities of a wrongful death lawsuit. Although no compensation can completely make up for the loss of life, it can help bring justice and a sense of closure for family members.
If you have recently lost a family member and believe the events leading up to their death warrant a wrongful death lawsuit, there is no time to waste. Depending on the state, families may have less than two years to seek compensation, which is why it’s essential to reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible. The Feldman Legal Group is dedicated to fighting for the injured and their families when they need it most. If you have lost a loved one due to negligent behavior, call our office to schedule a consultation at 1-877-946-8293.