Losing a loved one is one of life’s most hard-to-overcome challenges, and yet, it happens to all of us at one time or another. When a family member dies, you will be overwhelmed by grief and distress, but your suffering can be magnified when your loved one was killed in an accident that could have been averted.
Sometimes, accidents happen and there’s not anything that could have stopped it from happening. For instance, if a person was walking down the street and tripped over his or her own feet and sustained a brain injury that led to death.
Sometimes, though, accidents can occur because someone else was careless. Example: when a person is driving down the street obeying the rules of the road and is killed by a drunk driver.
If your loved one died in a fatal accident you may wonder if you can file a lawsuit. Lawsuits can be filed for a wrongful death only if you can prove someone was at-fault and caused your family member’s demise. If you have evidence or you believe you have a case, then you need an attorney experienced with wrongful death claims.
Wrongful Death Information
All states handle wrongful death claims in different ways, but here is some general information so that you can determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
First, you must determine if your loved one’s accident was truly the fault of another party. If you believe this, then you (and your attorney) will need to prove fault. This can be done by investigating the accident, gathering evidence, interviewing witnesses, etc.
Second, you will need to figure out who can file the wrongful death claim in your state. In some states, only a representative of the family can file the claim. In most states, however, the family members of the deceased can sometimes file the wrongful death claim, especially if they can prove they were dependent upon the accident victim.
Which family members can file? Often, the spouse, the children, siblings, parents, and grandparents, and sometimes, even extended family can file a wrongful death case.
What Kind of Compensation is Awarded for Fatal Accidents?
Filing a lawsuit for wrongful death can serve several different purposes. It can compensate the family of the victim for all financial losses, it can serve as justice against the negligent party, and it can help to protect others from being injured or killed because of the negligent party’s behavior. In some instances a company or organization can be held liable for a wrongful death and a lawsuit can serve to put new rules and laws in place that will protect others.
The types of compensation often awarded in wrongful death claims are as follows:
- Loss of consortium
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Medical bills related to the accident that led to death
- Grief and mental suffering
- Lost income
- Punitive damages in some cases
With any luck, some of this information is helpful to you, and it will make filing your wrongful death claim a little easier.