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A Guide to Wrongful Death Lawsuits

A Guide to Wrongful Death Lawsuits

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The death of a loved one is an emotionally trying time. Not only are you wracked with painstaking grief, but you have to take care of arrangements for their funeral and possessions. If this weren’t enough, you also have to cope with the fact that their death was preventable. 

A Guide to Wrongful Death Lawsuits

In these cases, wrongful death lawsuits can provide some level of comfort to you. When the death of a loved one is the result of negligence, you may be able to seek compensation. 

The circumstances of a wrongful death suit vary, which can determine if you can seek compensation. Here are some things to consider before you file.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death is a death that occurs as a result of injury due to the defendant’s negligence. Wrongful death lawsuits consider the liability of the defendant, the death’s circumstances, expenses as the result of death, and those left behind. 

The judge will take these into account and determine an appropriate settlement amount. 

Your wrongful death attorney will argue that the defendant’s actions led to the demise of your loved one. They will also argue that the death was preventable.

Be sure to vet your potential wrongful death attorney, or mistakes can ensue, which could cost you. 

Wrongful Death Lawsuits Require Consent

In wrongful death lawsuits, the relatives of the deceased usually pursue legal action. However, anyone that suffers damage because of the death can pursue legal action. All that needs to be proven is that the person was close enough to the deceased to be considered family. 

This means that people not related by blood or marriage can file a claim. 

Wrongful Death Can Be Intentional or Unintentional

Those close to the deceased can file wrongful death lawsuits whether the defendant meant to kill the victim or not. 

An example of an intentional death is a blow to the head sustained during an argument that leads to death. Criminal charges will be filed, and you can proceed with a wrongful death suit in tandem with the criminal charges. 

Unintentional deaths can result when the defendant behaves recklessly, like driving while drunk. Another example is when they ignore safety measures that cause death. 

In the case of an unborn child, wrongful death statutes do not apply. This is because unborn children do not have legal status until they are born alive. The exemption is when the child is born alive but later succumbs to an injury sustained in the womb. 

Restitution From Wrongful Death Lawsuits

These are the main types of restitution from wrongful death lawsuits:

  • Punitive damages 
  • Lost wages to family members (mainly for spouses)
  • Lost financial support

When you decide what type of restitution you want, know that there are some limits on which type you can receive. An example of this is that a surviving spouse cannot receive both lost wages and compensation. They have to choose which type of restitution is more appealing.

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You have a hard time ahead of you after the death of a loved one. When that death was preventable, the pain can be even more excruciating. Wrongful death lawsuits can help provide some sense of comfort to those left behind. 

If you were close to the deceased and are affected by their death, you have the potential to seek restitution. 

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