Coping with the death of a loved one is stressful. Dealing with loss can be especially difficult to accept when it results from a situation that could have been avoided. Wrongful death is death caused by the negligence, misconduct, or carelessness of another person or entity. Wrongful death actions can arise from medical malpractice, automobile accidents, willful misconduct or negligence, product liability, premises liability and more.
In most states, the surviving spouse, next of kin or personal representative may bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the deceased. Among the 11,908 civil trials in 2007, 452 included a wrongful death claim. Approximately 36% of these claims prevailed. Half of these prevailing claims resulted in an award to the plaintiff for at least $961,000. These numbers imply that wrongful death claims may be more difficult to pursue successfully than it may appear in news and television.
Aside from the emotional trauma that comes from the loss of a loved one, there are also financial considerations. These financial considerations include both immediate expenses and future expenses or lost income. It is important for you and your family to remain financially stable. In order to provide a financially stable future, it is necessary to assess the different types of damages you may seek.
Damages may include the following: pain and suffering, medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of future earnings, loss of benefits, loss of inheritance, loss of companionship or consortium, and in some cases, punitive damages.
It is important to remember that each state places time limits, called Statutes of Limitation, on the period within which you must bring a wrongful death action. Wrongful death actions in some states may have a shorter statutes of limitation than other claims. Thus, it is important to take action as soon as possible to protect your rights to a claim.
Due to the difficulties that accompany the loss of a loved one, InjuryBoard has assembled this Help Center to provide you with the most relevant and important information pertaining to wrongful death. If you have experienced the loss of a loved one that could have been avoided, you will benefit from this information by learning how to protect yourself and your family.
The information in this Help Center has been arranged into the following sections:
Each of the articles will provide you with expert analysis, key strategies, and bottom line advice to help you cope with the challenges and complexities surrounding the issue of wrongful death. By reading and putting this information into practice you will be ready for when the unexpected does occur or for dealing with an accident that has already occurred.
To speak to an attorney regarding the death of a loved one or a potential wrongful death claim, visit InjuryBoard's free "Ask an Attorney" page.