How to File a Wrongful Death Claim
A wrongful death claim is a civil court action in which the amount of damages awarded to the surviving members of a family for the wrongful or negligent death of a loved one is determined. If your loved one has died due to someone else’s reckless, negligent, and deliberate behavior, you are entitled to compensation from their wrongful death if their death impacts you and your family’s wellbeing, both emotionally and financially.
For a successful wrongful death suit, proof must be established that a loved one’s death was caused by another person’s action or inaction, and that surviving family members are suffering damages because of it. Every state has statutes for wrongful death, which may differ from state to state, but all of them require that a personal representative for the deceased’s estate be the one to file. A lawsuit can be filed for the following situations: medical malpractice resulting in death, car or plane accident, hazardous occupational situations, criminal behavior and death during supervised activity. A survivor may be able to collect compensation for such losses as medical costs, funeral and burial costs, loss of the deceased’s expected income, loss of inheritance, value of deceased’s services provided, loss of love and companionship, or loss of consortium.
After establishing that a loved one’s death was wrongful, and that the descendants are owed damages, it is important to establish that they are deserving of the awards. Several things about the descendant must be considered including the age, health condition, life expectancy, earning capacity, and personal character. These circumstances are the main things taken into consideration when determining how much to award in damages. For example, if the descendant routinely squandered his earnings, and had no children to support, less will be awarded. On the other hand, if the descendant was unemployed at the time, lost earnings could be awarded provided the descendant bring proof of past income. In a situation where the deceased was unemployed, for example, a housewife, lost earnings can still be collected due to increased expenditures for lost services she provided to the household.
It is highly important for the personal representative of the deceased’s estate to gather as much evidence as possible to prove that they are worthy of being awarded damages. Expert testimony may be required, because a jury may not understand motives for all of the damages being claimed.
If you have suffered due to the wrongful and untimely death of a loved one, the lawyers at Hodes Milman Liebeck are there for you in your time of need. Contact us today online at hmlm.com or call 866-730-1976 for a complimentary case evaluation.