No family should ever experience the pain of losing a loved one due to someone else’s negligence or careless acts. Unfortunately, in some cases, beloved family members can be taken away from us too soon due to wrongful death. While nothing can bring back a lost life, families and survivors of wrongful death need to be aware of their legal rights, as such claims can result in financial compensation that might help with dealing with the emotional and financial burdens resulting from a tragic loss. This blog post will explore six essential elements when filing for a wrongful death claim to ensure your case is successful.
1. Filing Survival Claims
Survival claims are filed to compensate the estate for damages the decedent could have recovered if they had not died. These damages include those incurred from the moment of the negligent act leading to death to the time of the deceased’s final passing. An experienced wrongful death lawyer can help the survivor file a wrongful death lawsuit and pursue a survival claim to ensure that the estate receives maximum compensation for all losses incurred. The concept of survival claims is applicable in cases where damages suffered before death can be proven, such as medical bills or pain and suffering.
Typically, survival claims can cover various damages, such as loss of income, medical expenses, and pain and suffering endured by the deceased before their death. It’s important to note that laws surrounding survival claims may vary significantly by state, so seeking professional legal counsel is recommended to navigate this process effectively.
2. Establishing Negligence
Negligence refers to a failure to behave with the level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances. To prove negligence, four elements must be demonstrated: duty, breach, causation, and damages. The defendant must have had a duty of care towards the deceased, meaning they were obliged to avoid causing harm.
There must be a breach of this duty, signifying the defendant failed to meet their obligations. Causation should be established, showing that this breach directly caused the death. Lastly, the plaintiff must have suffered damages due to the death, like financial hardship or emotional distress. Each element requires substantial evidence, so working with an experienced attorney who understands the complexities of proving negligence is crucial.
3. Identifying the Defendant
Identifying the defendant in a wrongful death claim is a crucial step that requires careful attention. The defendant can be an individual, a group, a company, or a government agency. For example, in a car accident, the defendant could be the at-fault driver, a defective vehicle part manufacturer, or a government entity that neglected road maintenance.
In medical malpractice cases, the defendant could be a negligent doctor, nurse, or hospital. The key is to determine who is legally responsible for the death accurately. This process can be complex, requiring an experienced attorney to navigate laws and regulations and hold the responsible party accountable.
4. Determining the Statute of Limitations
Losing a loved one is never easy, especially when another person or entity’s negligence or wrongful actions cause their death. In these cases, a wrongful death claim may be filed to seek justice and compensation for the damages. However, before pursuing such a claim, assessing the relevant statutes and limitations that may impact the case is important.
This includes understanding the time frame in which the claim must be filed, the types of damages that may be recovered, and any legal hurdles that may arise throughout the process. With a thorough understanding of these factors, individuals can better navigate the complexities of a wrongful death claim and work towards achieving the closure and compensation that they deserve.
5. Calculating Damages
Damages are a key part of any wrongful death claim. They can include medical expenses, funeral costs, lost wages, pain and suffering endured by the deceased before their passing, loss of companionship or consortium for surviving family members, and punitive damages intended to punish the responsible party’s action. It is important to know that each state has regulations surrounding the damages for which a plaintiff can pursue compensation.
6. Understanding Your Rights
Filing a wrongful death claim can be complex and overwhelming, especially when a family grapples with their newfound grief. It is essential to protect your legal rights by working with an experienced attorney who understands the details of your case and can pursue a successful claim on your behalf. From properly establishing negligence to calculating damages, an attorney can help ensure that the deceased’s family is cared for with justice and fairness.
Wrongful death cases are incredibly complex and require the utmost attention to detail for families to receive what they deserve regarding emotional and financial compensation. It’s important to remember that each case is different, and navigating the legal process can be difficult without experienced professional legal counsel. If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, contact an experienced wrongful death attorney today who can help you understand your rights and work towards filing a successful claim.