When someone you care about dies due to someone else’s negligence or dangerous behavior, you may be able to seek the compensation you deserve in a wrongful death case. The questions and answers below are for people who have lost a loved one and are considering pursuing a wrongful death action.
The law allows an injured victim to file a claim for compensation from the party responsible for their losses in a personal injury lawsuit. In the case of a wrongful death, the injured party is no longer alive, so a loved one can bring a claim on their behalf. As a result, wrongful death claims effectively empower another individual to take the deceased’s place.
Who may file a wrongful death action?
This, like other facets of wrongful death lawsuits, is dependent on state law. Most states require that a deceased person’s “personal representative” files a claim. In most cases, this usually refers to a close family member, such as a surviving spouse, child, or parent.
What are the procedures for taking legal action for a wrongful death?
Depending on the state in which you intend to file a claim, you usually start by assessing whether you are entitled to file a claim and then working with a Wrongful Death Lawyer to file your lawsuit within the state’s statute of limitations.
What must a claimant prove to establish fault?
Although each state has its own wrongful death laws, a claimant must generally be able to demonstrate the following:
- The defendant owed the deceased a duty of care.
- The defendant breached that duty of care.
- The death was caused by the defendant’s breach of duty of care.
- As a result, there were damages.
The time limitation for filing a claim is determined by your state’s statute for wrongful death actions. For example, in many states, a wrongful death claim must be brought within two years of the deceased’s death.
How much compensation can one seek?
In most wrongful death cases, the claimant is entitled to seek compensatory damages, including monetary and nonmonetary losses. Compensatory damages are intended to make up for an injured party’s losses. Here are several examples:
- Medical bills incurred before the deceased’s death
- Wages lost while the deceased was in the hospital
- Lost future wages
- Expenses for funerals and burials
- The loss of the loved one’s companionship
Claimants may be allowed to seek punitive damages in some situations.
What is the average size of a wrongful death settlement or verdict?
It is impossible to provide information regarding an average wrongful death settlement or verdict, because each case has its own set of facts. A legal professional can evaluate the facts of your case and discuss the damages to which you may be entitled.
How can a lawyer help in a wrongful death case?
A lawyer may be able to take your case on a contingency fee basis. This means that they will get paid only if they successfully obtain money for you through a settlement or jury decision.
Choosing the right wrongful death attorney is critical if you want to increase your chances of winning your case. It is important that you avoid settling for an attorney who makes you feel uneasy amid such a stressful situation; instead, find one who takes the time to make you feel at ease and is knowledgeable, as well as one who will be actively involved in your case.
Wrongful death claims are notoriously difficult to win. As a result, having an experienced legal professional on your side can be valuable. If you have any questions regarding how to file a wrongful death claim, you should contact an experienced Philadelphia Personal Injury Lawyer as soon as you can.