A wrongful death lawsuit is a claim for financial compensation. When a person dies because of a personal injury accident, the surviving family members can bring a legal claim for monetary compensation. There are several types of accidents that lead to wrongful death lawsuits. All these claims have something in common—they are the result of someone losing their life because of the wrongful actions of someone else.
Even when a death occurs because of an accident, it may be the result of carelessness or recklessness. In some cases, a claim may be based on strict liability. Intentional misconduct is also grounds for a wrongful death claim. If you have lost a loved one because of the actions of others, you may deserve financial compensation. An attorney for wrongful death lawsuits can help you bring your claim.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit begins when someone files a legal claim. The laws vary from state to state about who may file the claim and who can benefit from the claim. However, it’s generally brought on behalf of family members of the deceased.
In general, the laws for financial compensation are like what they would be if the victim had lived and brought a personal injury claim. However, the surviving family can claim for their losses based on the harm that results to them because of the loss of their family member. An attorney can represent the family in bringing the claim and working to maximize financial compensation.
7 Common Types of Wrongful Death
Several types of accidents frequently result in the death of the victim. Here are the most common types of wrongful death cases.
1. Vehicle Accidents
Car, truck, and SUV accidents can cause wrongful death. Rules of due care and caution that apply in society apply on the roads, too. When someone else causes an accident because of their driving behavior, the victim’s family may bring a wrongful death claim.
2. Bicycle and Pedestrian Accidents
Motor vehicle accidents do not always involve others in vehicles. Bicyclists and pedestrians can be victims, too. In fact, accidents involving bicyclists and pedestrians tend to have high fatality rates. Laws that require care and caution on the road benefit people on foot just like people in motor vehicles.
3. Medical Malpractice
Medical malpractice laws require healthcare providers to have adequate skill and attention when they perform their services. They are responsible to victims when their mistakes cause harm. Most states have special laws for bringing a medical malpractice claim.
4. Premise Liability Accidents
Accidents can happen because of a dangerous condition on someone’s property. Slippery surfaces and jagged walkways can be problematic. Poor lighting, cluttered space, elevated surfaces, and inadequate security can also be problems. Any way that poor conditions on a property can cause an accident may be the basis of a wrongful death claim.
5. Accidental Overdoses and Poisonings
Sudden trauma accidents aren’t the only way that wrongful death may occur. Accidental overdoses and poisoning can occur because of negligent storage of products. A person may be subject to unsafe handling procedures for chemicals in their work. In addition, medical malpractice may lead to an accidental overdose.
6. Boating or Drowning Accidents
The water can be a dangerous place. Speed, failing to follow boating laws and alcohol can all be contributing factors. When a boating or drowning accident occurs, those responsible may be liable.
7. Workplace Illnesses and Accidents
When employees head off to work, they expect to return home safely. Unfortunately, a significant number of wrongful death claims are related to workplace illness and accidents. The family may be left without their loved one and without a means of financial support.
These are some examples of wrongful death. There are other types of claims as well. In any situation in which a death occurs because of the preventable actions of others, there may be a wrongful death claim.
How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?
State laws create rules for who can benefit from a wrongful death. The purpose of the claim is to compensate family members for the loss of their loved ones. Typically, a spouse and children may benefit. State laws determine how the payments are split, with a share going to the spouse and the remaining amounts split among the children.
If there is no surviving spouse and no children, parents may benefit from a claim. Varying state laws may also call for a claim by the estate or legal heirs. Compensation depends on actual losses to the victim based on what’s allowed under state law.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit depends on state law. Often, it is the personal representative, which may end up being the spouse. Some states create different time periods for allowing the spouse to file first and then the children if the spouse declines. Some state laws allow the beneficiaries to decide how to split up the proceeds, while other states create rules for splitting a settlement. Sometimes, the court has the authority to apportion damages among the victims.
How Much Can You Sue for Wrongful Death?
In general, you can sue for wrongful death based on losses to the family. Again, there is significant variation based on state law, but there are some commonalities. The victims may claim compensation based on the loss of society and the companionship of their loved ones.
Financial losses are represented, too, with compensation based on lost income or lost services provided to the family. Some states have separate claims for the estate to recover medical bills after the injury and last expenses. An experienced attorney for wrongful death claims can help you understand how state law applies to your wrongful death claim and what your claim may be worth.
Our Personal Injury Attorneys are Here for You
A personal injury attorney can help you pursue a claim for wrongful death. They can explore who may have a legal fault and what the claim may be worth. Recovering from wrongful death is a complex process. When you need to get it right, our personal injury attorneys can help you determine how to proceed. They can work to hold wrongdoers accountable and fight for your family when you need help after the loss of a loved one.