Everything You Need To Know About Wrongful Death Lawsuit
No one imagines losing a loved one due to someone’s negligence or misconduct. Unfortunately, it does happen more often than you think. During such painful and difficult moments, you want to make sure that you file a wrongful death lawsuit to receive compensation. If the negotiations for a settlement prove unsuccessful, the case may go to trial. Experts who have dealt with such cases point out that most cases don’t reach trial as parties can agree to a specific settlement.
Like personal injury claims, wrongful death claims may include damages like medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering the deceased experienced before they died. The only difference is that the deceased family members or a representative make the claim. If you’re looking to file this kind of lawsuit, learning how the process works is prudent to avoid making mistakes that could lead to losses.
What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death simply means death that occurred due to someone else’s negligence, carelessness, intentional act, or criminal conduct. The wrongful conduct can be by a person or entity like a company. A wrongful death lawsuit is filed by the deceased family or representative. It’s a legal action whose laws differ from one state to another. Be sure to check the wrongful death statutory scheme to know how and when such cases can be brought and the amounts of settlement the courts can award. Wrongful death lawsuits can arise from all types of accidents, including medical malpractice, car accidents, poor work environment, and much more.
Who Can File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by survivors of a deceased person. It can also be filed by the estate’s representative on behalf of the survivors. These may include:
- Immediate family members: Spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children can file a lawsuit to receive compensation for wrongful death.
- Financial dependents, life partners, and putative spouses: Some states allow domestic or life partners, putative spouses, or people who believe they were married to the deceased or anyone financially dependent on the deceased to file a lawsuit.
- Distant family members: These include siblings and grandparents
- Anyone suffering financially: In some states, any person suffering financially from the victim’s death can file a lawsuit due lost support, even if they’re unrelated to the deceased. This includes employees.
Do You Need To Hire A Wrongful Death Attorney?
If you’re thinking about taking legal action after the death of a loved one, it’s probably a good idea to sit down and work everything with an experienced lawyer. During this time when you’re still mourning, you need all the rest and help you can get, from getting all the paperwork ready to evaluate your options. A wrongful death attorney can review the medical records and interview police officers and health care providers to get the correct information to use in court. They will also review the economic and non-economic damages before deciding on a specific settlement.
How To File A Wrongful Death Claim
Once you’ve determined that you can claim for the deceased, check your state’s statute of limitations. You can get this from your lawyer’s website or government websites. If you’re in Florida, go here to learn more about filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This includes the amount of time you have to file the case before you could lose the right to do so. For instance, in Georgia, the statute of limitations is two years from the date of death. However, there may be situations when this varies, so be sure to consult with your lawyer. Filing the lawsuit requires appropriate documents, including the petition, summons, and evidence you have.