What Constitutes Wrongful Death?

Wrongful Death

If someone you know died because of another person or entity’s fault, you may have grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of lawsuit seeks compensation for your losses, including lost wages, lost companionship, and funeral expenses.

However, there are certain restrictions as to who can file a claim and what kind of damages can be recovered.


When does a wrongful death claim exist?

In American law, the concept of a lawsuit is relatively new, as state and federal courts created the right to file a claim in the last century. Today, every state has some kind of wrongful death law. Wrongful death claims encompass any type of fatal accident, including simple car accidents and complicated medical malpractice or product liability cases.

In a wrongful death claim, persons, companies, and government entities can all be held accountable for negligence.


Who may file a claim?

Only a representative on behalf of the survivors who suffered damage because of the decedent’s death can file a lawsuit. Usually, the representative is the executor of the decedent’s estate.

Depending on the state, parties of interest may include immediate family members, life partners, financial dependents, and distant family members.


Who may be sued in a wrongful death claim?

People, companies, and government agencies can all be named in a claim. For example, a car accident involving a faulty roadway and drunk driver may result in legal action with defendants including the at-fault driver, the designer of the roadway, and the government agency who provided insufficient warnings.

In cases involving DUI, the person or bar that served the driver and allowed him or her to drive can also be named as a defendant in a resulting  lawsuit.


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