Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when it is unexpected. It is also difficult when you feel as though the death could have been prevented. Because of this, a number of wrongful death claims and lawsuits are filed every year. Wrongful death claims focus on deaths that are caused by a person or company, either directly or indirectly.
Many people may feel that they have a claim for wrongful death after a loved one has passed, but that may not be the case. So what is required for filing a wrongful death claim that will be heard in court?
There are three main requirements that must be met in order to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These requirements are:
- There must be damages as a result of the death, such as financial or emotional trauma
- The claim must be filed by a survivor that suffered damages
- Another party must be liable for the person's death
The requirement of damages is one of the key factors in a wrongful death claim. Examples of damages that could be included in a lawsuit include:
- Financial damages including medical or funeral expenses, loss of future earnings or loss of benefits such as medical insurance
- Non-financial damages such as pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of care or companionship
- Punitive damages
- Attorney fees
Liability for the Death
Liability for the death is just as important as damages. The defendant has to have some form of responsibility for the death, whether they directly caused it or their actions indirectly lead to the death. Examples of those who may be sued in a wrongful death claim include:
- Drivers at fault in auto accidents
- Manufacturers of faulty products including vehicle parts
- Companies that were negligent in making repairs that lead to a person's death
- Doctors who are accused of medical malpractice
- Individuals who intentionally killed another person
In some cases, government offices and their employees are exempt from being a defendant in a lawsuit.
Once the basics are in place for a wrongful death claim, hiring an attorney is going to be one of the most important decisions a person can make. An attorney will be necessary for representation in court, and they will be able to find expert witnesses and prepare their client for trial. If you feel that you have a wrongful death claim on your hands, contact an law firm such as Seaman Law Firm in your area to discuss your options for filing.