Generally speaking, a wrongful death occurs due to someone’s negligence, such as someone killed by an intoxicated driver, or due to unsafe work conditions at a job site. Whatever the reason, someone from your life is gone too soon. In these examples, a loved one of the departed may file a wrongful death lawsuit on the departed’s behalf. These civil suits, which tend to carry no criminal charges, assist loved ones in recovering losses for pain and suffering, monetary loss, medical bills, and more.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Suit?
Wrongful death law varies from state to state, but the following criteria must be met anywhere:
- You must be an immediate family member of the recently deceased – Spouses, parents, and children are considered immediate family. In some states, grandparents or extended family may be eligible.
- You must have proof of their death – You must hold a legitimate death certificate signed by a coroner to file a wrongful death suit.
- You must suffer damages – You need to prove you have suffered emotional and/or financial damages because of an untimely death.
Should you meet these requirements, you may file a lawsuit.
After a wrongful death, if all requirements are met, you’re entitled to damages. The damages in question may vary depending on circumstances. The most common include:
- Loss of income, including future income
- Loss of quality of life
- Pain and suffering
- Inheritance loss
- Hospital or burial costs
- Mental distress
- Loss of companionship
You’ll want to speak with an experienced wrongful death attorney to better determine what damages you’re eligible for. An attorney will fight on your behalf and help your overall understanding of the law and statutes.