Wrongful death lawsuits are particular types of cases that can be complex to navigate in the legal system. It’s always wise to pursue a wrongful death case with the help of legal representation, but there are still five key things you should know about what they are and how they work.
1. What Does a Wrongful Death Claim Consist Of?
When a person dies at the fault of another individual or entity, a wrongful death claim is often made on behalf of the deceased in order to seek justice.
The nature of a wrongful death claim can range from anything including a fatality in an automobile accident to a death suffered at the fault of medical malpractice. Defendants in wrongful death cases can be individuals, businesses, or even government organizations that have been accused of causing a wrongful death.
2. Who is Eligible to File for This Claim?
Generally, immediate family of the deceased loved one are usually who are eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Immediate family includes spouse, children, parents, or siblings. In some cases, stepchildren, stepparents, and even dependents can file this type of claim. If a claim is to be filed on the behalf of a minor, the adult who maintains his/her legal custody or guardianship is typically who makes the claim.
3. What Should I Know About Filing for This Type of Lawsuit?
If you strongly believe you have the grounds to open a wrongful death case, it is imperative that you obtain legal representation before beginning the process. Lawyers who are experienced in wrongful death suits know how to pinpoint and use crucial evidence, and they are highly knowledgeable in the laws surrounding this type of case.
4. What Types of Damages Can I Seek?
There are many damages for which you can be reimbursed in a wrongful death case. These include:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of past/future income
- Medical/funeral costs
- Decreased quality of life
- Loss of inheritance
- Companionship loss
- Loss of support system
The damages for which you can sue will heavily depend on your case. An experienced lawyer will help you navigate the process of learning the types of compensation to which you’re entitled.
5. What are the Statutes of Limitations on Wrongful Death Cases?
Statutes of limitations affect a wide range of legal cases, including wrongful death claims. As a rule of thumb, it’s good to remember that immediate family can generally still sue for damages during a 1-3 year window of time after the loved one passed away. If you’re unsure of whether your case lies within the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims, speak with a lawyer as soon as possible.