You never expect to lose a loved one, especially in an accident that could have been prevented. When you have spent weeks, months, or years recovering from an accident, you may find that it has a direct impact on your life. But what happens if you lose a loved one due to the careless actions of another party? Nobody ever expects their loved one to leave for work or a get-together to never return because a driver decided to drive recklessly on the roads. If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another, you may have a wrongful death claim. But what do these cases consist of?
There are many cases that stem from wrongful deaths every year, from medical malpractice cases to motor vehicle accidents and so much more. But where do you begin when it comes to these cases? Who is permitted to file and what damages could you receive?
Elements to Prove in a Wrongful Death Claim
There are 4 key elements that play a role in these unique wrongful death claims. They include the following:
- Negligence: The death of your loved one was caused by the recklessness and carelessness of another party
- Breach of Duty: The defendant owed you a duty to protect you from harm, such as obeying traffic laws in a vehicle accident
- Causation: You must be able to show how the negligence caused the death
- Damages: Economic and non-economic damages resulted from the accident, such as hospitalization and medical costs, as well as funeral expenses
Who is Permitted to File a Claim?
Not everybody can recover from a wrongful death suit. This varies from state to state. Many states use a system known as the “Lord Campbell System,” which allows a claim to be brought only by a designated beneficiary based on the relationship between the person and the deceased. This means that these claims are routinely brought by spouses and children. However, it doesn’t just stop there – some other people who may be able to include adopted children, siblings, grandparents, domestic partners, and many more. If someone is going to suffer financially due to the loss, then they may qualify. In other cases, the decedent’s estate will usually bring the claim in order to account for losses.
Damages You May Be Entitled To
There are two types of damages that you may be able to recover in these cases: damages experienced by the deceased and those that are losses by others.
For example, damages experienced by the deceased are for pain and suffering they may have felt before their passing, or the mounting medical bills they might have experienced while they were hospitalized before their death. On the other hand, losses of others caused by the victim’s death include things like lost income when a parent can no longer provide for their child, loss of companionship when a spouse dies, and more. These are the damages that pay for the effect the death has had on you.
As you can see, one of the best steps you can take in these cases is immediately speaking to an attorney in your time of need. Wrongful death suits are a very serious matter and you may be suffering on a financial and emotional level after the loss of your loved one. We want to help, so seek legal assistance as soon as possible.