Wrongful Death Lawsuits: How They Work . . .

August 2, 2022

Wrongful Death claims can be brought against the defendant who caused someone's death by negligence or intentional actions.The estate of a deceased person's estate or those who are close to him/her can file a wrongful death claim against the person legally responsible. Although wrongful death laws in each state are different, these types of lawsuits are typically filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased, often on behalf of family members who were affected by the wrongful death.

When is it applicable to file a wrongful death claim ?

When a victim, who otherwise would have a valid personal injuries claim, is killed by the defendant's wrongdoing, a wrongful death case can be filed . These can happen in many situations, including:

Intentionally killing a victim. O.J. Simpson was sued in civil court over the wrongful deaths of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman. The civil lawsuits were brought by the families of the victims and were independent from the criminal case against Simpson.

Medical malpractice is when a victim is accidently killed. A lawsuit against a doctor can be filed with the help of a good wrongful death lawyer  if a doctor fails or is negligent in diagnosing a condition or his/her actions led to the demise of a patient.

Negligence can lead to car accident deaths. A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed by surviving family if a victim is killed as a result of car accident injuries.

These are just some examples of personal injuries that could lead to wrongful death cases. Wrongful death claims can be made for almost any type of personal injury, with the exception of work-related injuries that cause death. These cases are usually handled through worker's compensation.

Damages in Wrongful death

There are numerous categories of losses that would entitle a survivor to receive compensation, which include:

  • The deceased person's predeath "pain" and suffering (also known as a "survival claim").
  • The medical treatment costs incurred by the victim prior to his death.
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of the expected income of the deceased
  • Any inheritance that is lost as a result if the death
  • Value of the services the deceased would have provided>
  • The loss of the guidance and care that the deceased would have given.
  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Loss of consortium

What must be proven?

To hold the defendant responsible in a wrongful-death claim, the plaintiffs (usually through the estate of the deceased) must prove that:

  • the defendant is legally responsible for the deceased's death
  • you suffered damages as a result, and
  • the defendant's negligent, wreckless or intentional act caused your damages.

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

A representative of the estate of a victim is the one who files a wrongful death claim on behalf of survivors. The exact identity of the survivors varies from one state to another.

A spouse can bring a wrongful-death action for the benefit of their deceased spouse in all 50 states.  Minors can seek compensation for the loss of a parent. States begin to differ on whether adults can sue for their parent's wrongful deaths and whether grown siblings or extended relatives, such as aunts, uncles, cousins, or grandparents, can sue. The more distant the family relationship, the more difficult it will be for a legal remedy through a wrongful-death case.

In certain states, the spouse of the deceased can bring a wrongful-death claim. However, marriage is not required. Anyone who can show financial dependence on the deceased can also file a claim.

If you recently lost a loved one in a wrongful death, contact our wrongful death lawyer for a FREE consultation . . . .

Michael D. Beharry, Esq.

An experienced personal injury attorney in the Miami area, who is committed to helping injured accident victims with cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, rideshare accidents, wrongful death, slip and falls, as well as brain and spinal cord injuries.

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