The death of a love one is always a difficult situation, but it is especially difficult when someone dies as a result of the negligence or wrongful act of another person. In these situations the next of ken or lawful representative of the estate may file a wrongful death lawsuit against the negligent party.
Most wrongful death lawsuits are initiated after a criminal trial, for example murder, and the wrongful death lawsuit uses some of the same evidence used in the criminal trial. But a person does not have to be found guilty of a criminal act to be found liable in a civil suit.
Former football player O.J. Simpson’s murder case and subsequent civil suit serves a good example. Simpson was found not guilty during his criminal trial because the prosecution was unable to prove his guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. But Simpson was found liable for the wrongful of the two victims during his civil trial.
In order to bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit, the following elements must be present:
- the death of a person;
- the death of a person must be caused by another person’s negligence, or with cause to harm;
- there must be a surviving family member who suffered monetary injury as a result of the death; and
- there must a representative for the deceased’s estate.
A wrongful death lawsuit may arise from a number of circumstances, such as the following:
- automobile or airplane accident;
- medical malpractice;
- occupational exposure to hazardous substances or conditions;
- death during a supervised activity; or
- criminal behavior.
A wrongful death lawsuit can be initiated by a designated beneficiary. A designated beneficiary might be:
- immediate family members, including parents of unmarried children, adopted children, children, and spouses;
- distant family members such as grandparent or siblings;
- life or domestic partners; or
- financial dependents and/or those who suffer financially as a result of the death.
A wrongful death lawsuit can seek compensation for a number of damages, including:
- loss of consortium;
- loss of companionship and love;
- loss of nurturing, guidance, and care that the decease would have provided;
- value of the services the deceased person would have provided;
- loss of any inheritance as a result of the wrongful death;
- loss of deceased person’s future income;
- burial and funeral costs;
- medical costs that the deceased incurred as a result of the injury prior to death; or
- the deceased person’s pain and suffering prior to death.
If a love one has died as result of an injury or accident caused by the negligence of another individual, entity or company, you may be entitled to launch a wrongful death lawsuit. Because of potential statute of limitation issues involved, you should contact an experience attorney immediately to review your claim. Our law office handles wrongful death lawsuits from across the country. Contact our office for a free case evaluation.