What constitutes a wrongful death claim?
In a situation such as a car accident involving a drunk driver, for instance, the deceased’s family may sue the driver at fault, the persons who sold the alcohol to the impaired driver, or the owner of the premises where the alcohol was served, among other entities. In order for a wrongful death suit to be successful, the following elements must be present: [list type=”check”]
- The death of a human being;
- Caused by another’s negligence, or with intent to cause harm;
- The survival of family members who are suffering monetary injury as a result of the death, and;
- The appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate.
[/list] Wrongful death claims can sometimes be filed against entities rather than persons– for instance, there have been successful cases in the past in which families have successfully sued tobacco companies for their loved one’s untimely demise.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Many parties may be able to file wrongful death claims, depending on the state in which the death occurred. Such parties include but are not limited to: immediate family members, persons who suffer financially, parents of a deceased fetus, a domestic life partner, and sometimes even distant family members (such as in a situation in which a grandparent raised a child).
What kinds of damages can be recovered?
Damages for a wrongful death may be financial or they may be non-financial. Financial damages include medical and funeral expenses related to the death, loss of the victim’s expected earnings, and loss of benefits. Non-financial damages include pain and suffering for the estate of the deceased, loss of a spouse, child or parent, and compensation for the deceased’s suffering, prior to his or her death.
How do I know if I have a wrongful death claim?
If you think you or a loved one have been affected by a wrongful death, contact the law firm of Massey & Duffy to speak to a wrongful death attorney today for a free consultation. Our compassionate, experienced lawyers will take the time to listen to your story and do their best to help you.