A wrongful death lawsuit is essentially a type of lawsuit in which one party dies due to another party’s negligence or misconduct. The defendant in this case is the cause behind someone’s death and a court case can be filed against them irrespective of the circumstances if the death was wrongfully cause. Since the victim is already deceased, the court allows the victim’s closest family members to file a case on their behalf. These family members are usually the one’s inheriting the victim’s estate or ones being financially or mentally handicapped due to the death.
A wrongful death application can be filed in a number of cases which include:
- Intentional murder: This is when the defendant murders or intentionally kills another party.
- Negligence: This is when an individual dies due to negligence on the defendant’s part. This includes accidents and medical malpractices. The former could be a road accident whereas the latter is when an individual dies to a doctor’s negligence an incompetency in either not being able to diagnose a disease or being careless in an operation.
In order to file a solid wrongful death lawsuit, the cause of death whether negligence or intention, needs to be proven and justified. The plaintiff’s family or relatives ought to seek professional help from well-versed and experienced attorneys. Since certain states in the United States such as New York see more such cases on a daily basis, it is recommended that a wrongful death lawyer in New York ought to be sought for legal help.
It is important to realize that a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil case not a criminal one. Hence, the burden of proof is much lower that that of a criminal case.
There are certain damages that can be claimed in a wrongful death lawsuit. While your attorney can guide you in matters of what claim fits, the following are the generic claims that are generally sought in a wrongful death claim:
- A survival claim that deals with the deceased’s suffering
- The total costs and expenses related to the deceased’s medical expenses prior to his death and after the accident
- The total costs and expenses related to the funeral costs of the deceased
- In the deceased was the sole breadwinner, or even a breadwinner that had dependents, the income that has been lost as a result of their death can be claimed
- The emotional and mental loss associated with losing a brother/sister, son/daughter, father/mother or husband/wife can also be claimed
Losing a loved one can be a truly traumatic experience and knowing that someone responsible for that death is living their life freely is a trauma beyond one’s reasoning. Hence, grieving families are required to claim their losses in whatever way they can – their loved one may not come back, but they too would want their family to receive some compensation for their suffering. Some individuals may consider such monetary compensation as superficial or materialistic, but they may not realize the emotional connotations attached to it holistically.