Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit occurs when a person’s death is caused by the negligence, recklessness, malpractice, inaction, or intentional act of another. The family of the deceased can file the lawsuit on behalf of their lost loved one. The wrongful death lawsuit is a civil lawsuit, which does not bear any criminal charges. For the lawsuit to be successful it must be proven that the accused party had a duty to act in a certain manner, failed to act in this manner, and this failure caused the death of your loved one.

The purpose of the lawsuit is to help families recover damages incurred by the wrongful death. These damages may include concrete damages such as lost wages (including future earnings), lost benefits, lost inheritance, medical costs, and funeral expenses as well as emotional damages including pain and suffering, mental anguish, and loss of companionship. Punitive damages may be awarded for wrongful death lawsuits where malicious intent can be shown.

Who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit?
wrongful-death-attorneyImmediate family members are almost always eligible to file a wrongful death claim. Immediate family members are spouses, parents, and children. In some states additional family member can file the lawsuit, including stepparents, grandparents, and dependents. Minors under the age of 18 may need an adult guardian to take the lawsuit to court.

Wrongful death statute of limitations
The statute of limitations is the cap on the amount of time a family has to file a wrongful death claim after the incident has occurred. In general the family has between one and three years to file the lawsuit. The statute of limitations varies depending on the state. If the lawsuit is not filed within this time the wrongful death claim may be barred forever. There are circumstances where the statute of limitations may be adjusted. For instance, if the death was originally deemed an accident and later found to be due to negligence, the statute of limitations will be adjusted to correspond to the date when the true nature of the accident was discovered instead of the initial time of death. In general the earlier a wrongful death lawsuit is filed the easier it will be to preserve evidence and locate witnesses needed to win the case.

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