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Wrongful Death Definition

What Is Wrongful Death?

If one of your loved ones recently died as a result of someone else’s actions, the last thing you are probably thinking about is taking legal action. It can feel like you are owed some compensation for your loss, and wrongful death lawsuits are designed specifically for helping individuals in your situation get this kind of compensation. What exactly is a wrongful death claim? This guide will explain everything you need to know before filing.

What Is Wrongful Death?

Wrongful death lawsuits are essentially personal injury lawsuits which are filed on behalf of the victim. Because the victim died, the loved ones of the victim must be the ones to file the lawsuit. It is possible to receive compensation for all the same types of damages that are possible in a personal injury lawsuit, alongside additional damages that the loved ones faced. This includes:

  • Pain and suffering of the victim
  • Medical bills
  • Lost wages
  • Damage to property
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of financial support
  • Funeral costs
  • Burial costs
  • Emotional distress

Losing a loved one is a terrible thing to experience, but every type of loss experienced can be fully compensated if the defendant in a wrongful death case is found to be liable.

Can You File?

The law does not allow just anyone to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The one who files must have the right kind of relationship with the deceased. This varies slightly from one state to the next, but there are three people who can always file regardless of state. These are the spouse of the victim, the parent of a victim who was a minor, and the minor children of a parent victim. In certain states, the adult children of the victim, parents of adult children, siblings of the victim, and extended family members can also file.

The most common situations where a wrongful death lawsuit is appropriate, fall into three categories. The most common of these is death caused by an accident, such as a car collision. It is also possible to file a medical malpractice wrongful death claim against a physician of the victim. Finally, if someone intentionally and maliciously killed another, a wrongful death lawsuit is still an option. This kind of wrongful death claim will take place alongside the criminal investigation. The two court cases are independent of each other. If you think you have a wrongful death claim, the first thing you should do is contact a wrongful death lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer, to help build your case. 

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