A wrongful death is the taking of a life resulting from negligence or willful intent from a person or persons. In the event of a wrongful death a lawsuit can be made to compensate for the loss of a life. The lawsuit is meant to cover the cost of damages caused by the incident. Different states have different laws surrounding wrongful deaths, and the best way to learn about the specific laws in your area is to talk to a wrongful death attorney.
Who is Entitled to a Wrongful Death Claim?
Several parties are entitled to make a claim, including:
- Immediate family members: In all states, the immediate family of the deceased is able to make a claim for compensation
- Spouses: In some states, the spouse or anyone financially dependent on the deceased is entitled to a claim
- Distant family members: Some states allow for claims by distant family members such as brothers, sisters, and grandparents.
- Many states are different in regards to making a wrongful death claim. Asking professional wrongful death attorneys will help you to determine if you are eligible to make a claim.
Who may be sued?
Depending on the circumstances surrounding the death, several persons, companies and employees could be sued. Example: a car accident on a faulty road, the following persons can be sued:
- The driver of the car
- The designer of the faulty road
- The company that built the faulty road
Compensation for a Wrongful Death
Both economical and non-economical damages can be compensated in the claim. The process of calculating and determining the damages is very complex and time-consuming. Experts and witnesses will be called upon in the process.
The following damages can be covered in a claim:
- Economical Damage – Includes any medical bills and costs that are incurred from the wrongful death incident, will also include the cost of a funeral. Loss of income and benefits will also be covered in the claim. Any loss of inheritance and value of goods and services will be considered.
- Non-Economical Damage – The loss of a life has drastic effects on the remaining surviving family members and partners. Although emotional suffering can’t be quantified, it is taken into account when making a claim. Compensation will be provided for the survivors’ pain and suffering.
Some states have a limit on how much you can receive in compensation. Punitive damages designed to punish and discourage bad conduct resulting in wrongful deaths may also be collected as well.
Time Limit on Making a Claim
The time in-between the death and initiating a claim is different for all states. The maximum time may be as short as one year, and others may be as long as two years. These time limits are called “statutes of limitations”, and each state has different rules regarding the time limits.
A general rule of thumb is to file for a claim within two years, but to be safe you should seek advice from a wrongful death lawyer.
For the best advice and regarding wrongful death lawsuits, you should seek the counsel of an experienced wrongful death lawyer. The death of a loved one is an extremely stressful time, and it is important that you have a wrongful death attorney that you can trust.
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