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What a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Really Is

Document with title Wrongful Death o a wooden surface.


As a family member of someone who’s died due to negligence or misconduct, you may be able to sue for what’s known as a “wrongful death.” In this lawsuit, you’re seeking compensation for your losses (e.g., lost companionship, funeral expenses, lost wages).

Who can file for a wrongful death lawsuit?

You may pursue this lawsuit if your loved one has died because someone did something illegal (e.g., a car accident, a bartender who knowingly served someone who’s driving, a medical professional, a business owner who didn’t maintain their property, etc.). You’ll need to look at your state’s statutes to see if you can file such a lawsuit since these statutes do vary by state.

When do you have a case?

These claims arise once a victim who had a personal injury claim has died because of the defendant’s wrongful actions. There are several situations that may cause this to happen. They include:

  • If someone is murdered, they’ll be tried for a criminal case. However, the family can also sue the defendant for a wrongful death case which would be a civil case.
  • When a doctor doesn’t diagnose the condition that’s led to a person’s death or if they act negligently in caring for a patient and they die, not only can the doctor have a claim filed against them, but so can the other providers who were involved in the person’s care.
  • After a vehicular accident, investigators will determine whether someone was recklessly driving (e.g., not obeying traffic laws or driving while intoxicated) and whether this led to a person’s death. If so, you may have a lawsuit.

What elements are included in the lawsuit?

There are several elements that must be present to bring one of these lawsuits forth. These include:

  • The person’s death must have been caused by another person’s negligence or intent to cause the deceased person harm.
  • The surviving family members are seeking monetary recuperation related to the death.
  • The decedent’s estate must have a personal representative appointed to it.
  • The case must be filed within the statute of limitations (a.k.a., the state’s time constraints) regarding when the person died unless there’s an ongoing investigation regarding the death. If this is the case, you can wait until the cause of death is determined.

How are settlement amounts determined?

The amount that you’re awarded for your wrongful death lawsuit will depend on various factors, including:

  • The deceased individual’s age
  • Any damages incurred (e.g., medical bills, funeral, and burial expenses)
  • The value of your pain (based on the per diem method)

It’s up to you to meet the burden of proof in order to receive a settlement. This is a complex process in which evidence must be gathered to support your claim.

How do you get legal help for such a lawsuit?

When your loved one passes away due to either an injury or an accident that was caused by misconduct or negligence, you’re able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. There are some deadlines that apply for filing, which is why you should contact us at the Blenner Legal Group in Palm Harbor, FL, to discuss your lawsuit right away.

Posted in Law

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