A civil suit for wrongful death is filed by the family members of a victim who have suffered losses and damages because of their loved one’s death. These damages are often compensatory (to compensate you for your financial losses) and punitive (to punish the defendant and deter others from acting negligently). A successful wrongful death lawsuit requires you to prove all of the following:
Who pays success fees?
Proving that the defendant’s conduct caused the death is known as “causation.” This element is usually straightforward, but you should consult an experienced lawyer if you have any concerns about it.
Bringing the Lawsuit
You need to be the personal representative of the victim’s estate to file a wrongful death claim. This person is appointed by the court, and is usually the victim’s spouse or children. If the deceased does not have a spouse or children, then other relatives may qualify to bring the claim based on state law.
The surviving beneficiaries may be entitled to compensation for the loss of love, companionship, and support that they have suffered as a result of the victim’s death. In addition, they are typically entitled to pecuniary damages for funeral expenses, lost future inheritance, and medical bills incurred prior to the victim’s death.
It’s important to contact a wrongful death attorney as soon as possible after the incident. Evidence can disappear and witnesses may forget details over time. Additionally, a statute of limitations may apply, and if you miss it, you will lose the right to pursue the case.