Wrongful death refers to a legal claim in which a person has died as a result of the negligence, recklessness, or intentional conduct of another person or entity. These cases are typically brought by surviving family members or dependents of the deceased as a way to seek compensation for the harm caused by the death. The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to provide financial support to the surviving family members and to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions according to a wrongful death lawyer from our friends at Garrett, Walker, Aycoth & Olson, Attorneys at Law.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Case
In order to succeed in a wrongful death case, several key elements must be proven. These elements include:
- Duty of care: The defendant had a legal obligation to exercise reasonable care to prevent harm to others.
- Breach of duty: The defendant breached this duty of care by failing to act in a reasonable manner.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty was the direct cause of the plaintiff’s harm.
- Damages: The plaintiff suffered harm as a result of the defendant’s actions, such as loss of income, medical expenses, and loss of consortium.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims are typically brought by surviving family members, such as a spouse, children, or parents, or by the personal representative of the deceased’s estate. In some cases, other individuals who were dependent on the deceased may also be able to bring a claim, such as siblings or grandparents.
Damages Available in a Wrongful Death Case
The damages available in a wrongful death case will depend on the specific circumstances of each case. However, common damages in these cases include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical expenses incurred before death
- Loss of the deceased’s future earning potential
- Loss of companionship and emotional support
- Punitive damages (in cases where the defendant acted with intentional or reckless disregard for the safety of others)
Statute of Limitations for Wrongful Death Claims
Each state has its own statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. This means that there is a specific time frame in which a wrongful death claim must be filed, or the right to bring a claim will be lost. In most states, the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims is two years from the date of death. However, it is important to consult with a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the death, as the statute of limitations can vary depending on the specific circumstances of each case.
Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death cases are complex and require the assistance of experienced wrongful death attorneys. If you have lost a loved one as a result of the negligence or intentional conduct of another person or entity, you may be entitled to seek compensation for the harm caused by the death. It is important to consult with a top rated lawyer as soon as possible after the death in order to protect your rights and to ensure that your claim is filed within the statute of limitations.