A wrongful death claim seeks to compensate the family members of a deceased person whose death was caused by the negligent or intentional actions of another. They are civil actions distinct from any criminal proceedings that may simultaneously occur.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The right to file a wrongful death claim varies by state. In most jurisdictions, immediate family members, such as spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In some states, extended family members like grandparents may also file a claim.
Special Circumstances: In cases where the only surviving family member is a minor, the court may assign a legal guardian to act on their behalf.
The Role of a Wrongful Death Attorney
Navigating a wrongful death claim can be overwhelming, particularly when dealing with grief. An experienced wrongful death attorney can provide the necessary legal guidance, help establish negligence, and seek suitable compensation on behalf of the surviving family members. You can check it out here for more information on how an experienced attorney can help your case.
Types of Compensation in a Wrongful Death Claim
Compensation in wrongful death claims is broadly divided into economic and non-economic damages. The former covers tangible costs such as medical bills and lost income, while the latter encompasses intangible damages such as loss of companionship and mental anguish.
Compensation can include:
- Loss of Companionship
- Medical Bills
- Funeral Costs
- Loss of Income
- Loss of Future Income
- Pain and Suffering
- Mental Anguish
- Loss of Inheritance
- Punitive Damages
Determining the Value of a Wrongful Death Claim
Determining the financial value of a wrongful death claim is a complex process that considers various factors. These include future wages the decedent could have earned, end-of-life expenses, and non-economic damages such as emotional distress and loss of companionship.
Note: There is no cap on wrongful death damages in most jurisdictions, including Missouri and Illinois.
Establishing a Legitimate Wrongful Death Claim
To establish a legitimate wrongful death claim, negligence and causation must be proven. This involves showing that the defendant’s actions or inactions directly led to the victim’s death. The process typically involves thorough investigation and gathering of evidence to hold all liable parties accountable.
Common Victims in Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death can affect anyone, but certain demographics, including the elderly and children, may be more susceptible to fatal accidents. However, the right to file a wrongful death claim typically rests with the representatives of the deceased’s estate or immediate family members.
Timeline for a Wrongful Death Claim Decision
The time it takes to reach a decision in a wrongful death claim varies. Most claims are settled within a year, though cases that proceed to trial can take longer. Factors influencing the timeline include the complexity of the case and the willingness of both parties to negotiate.
Which Damages Receive the Highest Compensation?
The type and amount of damages awarded in a wrongful death claim vary on a case-by-case basis. Punitive damages, which are designed to punish particularly egregious behavior, are often the highest. However, they are only awarded in certain circumstances.
A wrongful death claim can provide much-needed financial relief to the family members of a deceased person. However, the process is complex and emotionally draining. Engaging the services of an experienced wrongful death attorney can make the process more manageable and increase the chances of a favorable outcome.
If you believe your loved one’s death was due to negligence, contact a wrongful death attorney. They can provide a personalized consultation, help you understand your options, and guide you through the claim process.
Remember, dealing with a wrongful death claim can be a complex process, but you don’t have to go through it alone. A knowledgeable and compassionate attorney can provide the guidance you need.