What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action brought by the survivors or the estate of a person who died due to the negligence or intentional actions of another.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Each state has a specific set of rules governing wrongful death claims, including rules identifying who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim, on behalf of survivors who had a relationship with the victim. In all states, a spouse may bring a wrongful death action on behalf of his or her deceased spouse, parents of minors may also bring a wrongful death action if one of their children is killed, and minors can collect compensation for the death of their parents. Usually, the more distant the familial relationship is, the harder it will be to show that you should be allowed to collect wrongful death damages. An attorney would be able to advise you as to whether your relationship with the deceased victim would allow you to bring a claim on their behalf.
What Must Be Proven?
In order to hold the defendant liable in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiffs must meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet had the victim lived.
What Damages are Available in a Wrongful Death Case?
Laws in each state provide the means to ease financial burden when a person or entity is legally responsible for causing the deceased person's death. Pecuniary, or financial, injury are the main measure of damages in a wrongful death action.