Wrongful Death Lawsuit
When a person dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, the survivors may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This kind of lawsuit seeks compensation for the loss of the survivors, such as funeral expenses, lost companionship, and even lost wages from the deceased.
What is a wrongful death claim? Who can file it? How quickly must it be filed? What damages can be collected, and how are they distributed? These are the questions this blog post seeks to address.
What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a legal suit in a civil court that seeks a civil redress against the person or company who played a part in the death of the decedent. The compensation is paid in the form of monetary damages.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The dead person called the “decedent,” obviously, cannot file the lawsuit themselves, and even not legally allowed to file the lawsuit. Another person must file the lawsuit such as:
– A surviving spouse
– Adult children
– A parent (when the decedent is a minor.)
– A single member of a civil union or domestic partnership
– More distant family members can file a lawsuit in many states if the decedent was a single male adult.
– The executor of will (if the decedent had a will) may also have the sole right to file a claim on behalf of the decedent.
It should be noted that only one wrongful death lawsuit can be filed on behalf of the decedent. If multiple lawsuits are filed due to a family disagreement, the court will most likely consolidate them into one lawsuit.
When Must a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Be Filed?
Every state allows at least one year. The only exception is if you are claiming the government or an employee of the government played a role in the decedent’s death. In such case, you’ll need to file documentation known as a “notice of claim” within 90 days of the death.
What Damages Can Be Collected?
Damages are awarded solely for the benefit of the decedent’s surviving spouse, children, and other dependents in most states. In cases where there are no surviving spouse, children, or dependents, the damages may be directly paid to the estate. Damages available in a wrongful death case varies depending on the facts of the particular case, and the state it is filed in. Some common types of damages paid includes:
– Funeral and burial expenses,
– Medical bills,
– Loss of wages,
– Lost contributions to child or spousal support,
– Loss of household and other services the decedent would have performed,
– Loss of prospective education and training,
– Loss of care, comfort, and guidance the decedent would have given to his or her spouse and children.
– Also, pain and suffering suffered by the decedent in the moments before death.
If you believe a loved one has died due to intent or negligence by another person or company, you have recourse through the law to recover monetary damages through a wrongful death lawsuit. Contact Petrov Law Firm at 619-344-0360 for a consultation.