Sadly, wrongful death can happen to anyone of us or someone we love at any time. Wrongful death claims are a type of personal injury lawsuit when a person is killed because of someone else’s carelessness.
When someone makes decisions that lead to accidental or even intentional death of another person, this is how wrongful death claims start. Thanks to these types of claims, the victim’s estate can file a lawsuit against the individual or parties liable for their death. These are filed by someone who represents the estate on behalf of the victim’s family and loved ones.
How to know when to file a wrongful death lawsuit
Wrongful death claims are necessary when the deceased would have been justified in filing a personal injury lawsuit. This lawsuit would have been because of negligence, or someone causing intentional harm to the victim. This can happen in situations such as where:
- The victim is murdered
When someone is suspected of purposefully killing another person.
- Fatal car accidents
When someone dies in a car accident or dies because of injuries received in a car accident, their estate has a right to a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Death by medical malpractice
Doctors have a responsibility to provide high-quality, safe treatment when you are in their care, but when the doctor is negligent and their medical malpractice leads to death, an unlawful death suit may be in order.
How a wrongful death suit is won
The plaintiffs have to prove that the person who is responsible for the wrongful death is, in fact, liable. So basically you have to show that:
- The defendant was obligated to provide the victim a duty of care;
- They did not adhere to this duty; and
- This was actually the exact reason for the person’s death and is, therefore, why the plaintiff is wanting to retrieve the damages.
Who can file a wrongful death lawsuit?
A representative of the estate of the deceased person usually files the unlawful death suit for the victim’s family and loved ones. Eligible parties vary from state to state. Every state allows the person’s spouse to initiate the lawsuit. Parents can also do this if their child was wrongfully killed, and children can also receive payment for their parent’s death.
The challenge comes in when it comes to adult children, adult siblings, cousins, the parents of adult children, uncles, aunts or grandparents are allowed to file a lawsuit. But depending on the state, if you can prove you were financially dependent on the person who passed away, then you have to right to sue.