The following are general wrongful death questions:
- What is wrongful death case?
- Who can file a wrongful death case?
- How soon should I contact a wrongful death attorney?
- How long will a wrongful death case take?
- What kinds of damages are recoverable in a wrongful death claim?
Wrongful death case is a lawsuit brought on behalf of a decendent's survivor's for their damages resulting from a tortious injury that caused the decedent's death.
Wrongful death case may be defined as any of the following examples:
- A negligent or careless act such as a negligent driver
- A motor vehicle/trucking accident Defective automobile, tractor or
- A reckless act by another person, or an intentional act such as a deliberate murder such as an attack such as assault and/or battery
- A death in the course of another crime
- A death during a medical operation, the neglect of a doctor, hospital or nursing home Defective drugs or medication
- A company's negligence in the enforcement of Safety Regulations Faulty equipment or tools
- A property owner who fails to meet Safety Regulations
Who can file a wrongful death case will depend on your state's statutory language, but generally immediate family members (i.e. spouses, children and parents) can pursue a wrongful death case (although minors until 18 years of age may require a "guardian ad litem" to represent their interests in court). In addition, some states may also extend the potential group of plaintiffs to grandparents, legal dependents, or members of the extended family.
You should contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible because of the following reasons:
- Evidence may be lost
- The memory of witnesses may decline over time.
- Each state has its own "statute of limitation," which defines the time frame during which a lawsuit must be filed. In some states you must file within 3 years, but the rules vary from state to state.
Two possible things could happen to your wrongful death case:
- wrongful death settlement reached before trial
- wrongful death case could go to trial (in which case this wrongful death case will take several years). Larger wrongful death case often go to trial.
The following damages may be recovered in a wrongful death case:
- Immediate expenses associated with the death (medical & funeral)
- Loss of victim's anticipated earnings in the future until time of retirement or death
- Loss of benefits caused by the victim's death (pension, medical coverage, etc.)
- Loss of inheritance caused by the untimely death
- Pain and suffering, or mental anguish to the survivors
If your loved one died due to the actions of another, you should contact the nearest wrongful death attorney immediately to learn more about preserving your rights and remedies. A wrongful death attorney will be able to explain the value of your case and help you navigate through the complicated legal process.