Dealing with the death of a loved one can be difficult. It can be even harder to come to terms with the death when it occurred as a result of someone else’s misconduct or negligence. Ensuring that the wrongdoer is held responsible can help relatives and loved ones come to terms with the death. The compensation can also go a long way in easing their financial burden.
Only Relatives Can Sue
Not everyone can sue for wrongful death. You should have been related to the victim or have been injured e.g. financially, by the person’s death. In most states, only the children or spouse can sue. In some states, distant relatives are allowed to sue. You should check with an experienced wrongful death lawyer in your state to determine if you can file a wrongful death claim.
If the death resulted from the negligence of a relative, you may not be able to sue for wrongful death depending on the state laws. Some states allow the representative of the victim’s estate to sue. However, the compensation will go to the victim’s estate.
Proving Your Case
You must provide evidence of misconduct or negligence in order to win a wrongful death case. You must show that the defendant acted carelessly or with the intent to cause harm. You should also show how the death of the victim has resulted in the suffering of at least one surviving family member.
In many cases, the misconduct that resulted in the death of the victim was also a criminal act such as DUI or murder. However, there are instances where the misconduct is not a criminal act e.g. distracted driving or failing to change bandages in a timely manner, both of which are considered negligence and not criminal acts. In such cases, the defendant will not face criminal charges, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be sued for wrongful death.
Wrongful Death Awards
Wrongful death awards are limited to monetary awards. You may claim damages for:
- Direct expenses. These include expenses that were incurred by the victim or the family as a direct result of the injuries or death of the victim. These include medical bills as well as funeral expenses.
- Loss of financial support. You can claim damages related to the loss of financial support to dependents on the victim. This may also include damages for household services that the victim provided when they were alive.
- Non-economic losses. It is also possible to sue for non-economic losses. This may include the loss of emotional benefits including sexual relations and companionship. Awards for non-economic losses are often greater than those for economic losses.
If you or someone you know are in need of a wrongful death lawyer, find someone with experience in your area today.