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Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

When a death occurs as a result of negligent, reckless or deliberate behavior on the part of another person, entity, persons or company, it is known as a “wrongful death.” To put it simply, a wrongful death is a death that ought not to have happened.

It is important to know that the intent of the wrongdoer is not relevant for a death to be considered as a wrongful death. The act that results in an injury that brings about death may be either intentional or unintentional. Therefore, when any unnatural death happens because of someone else’s act, it is regarded as a wrongful death.

Death can occur from an unintentional action such as a bicycle accident, car accident, or motorcycle accident. Intentional criminal actions can also lead to wrongful deaths (fights, assaults, rape, or murder).

Regardless of whether or not the actions which lead to the death were intentional or unintentional or whether the state decides to pursue criminal charges, the surviving family members of the deceased may, under certain conditions, be able to win compensation for their loss.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim


You may have a spouse or family member that you believe lost their life in a wrongful death. You would like to pursue a wrongful death claim. How do you go about filing a wrongful death claim? What do you have to do? What is the first step in pursuing a wrongful death claim?

Most surviving family members should first talk to a personal injury lawyer. Filing a wrongful death claim is a complicated procedure that should not be attempted without the help and counsel of one of a personal injury lawyer.

A personal injury attorney can review your claim and let you know if you are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The surviving, immediate family members are generally the only ones who are permitted to pursue a wrongful death claim.

The immediate family of the decedent are sometimes called “distributees.” The most common distributees are children, spouses and parents, although wrongful death statutes are different for each state. Personal injury lawyers who are familiar with the laws of your state can make sure you are allowed to file a wrongful death claim.

The third step in pursuing a wrongful death claim is to make sure that you meet certain basic requirements. These basic requirements include:

? Proof of death of your family member (a death certificate that is signed by a coroner)
? Either a witness or evidence that another party was responsible for your family member’s death
? Being able to prove that you have suffered economic, traumatic or emotional loss due to the wrongful death of your family member.


After you have met these basic requirements, you may pursue a wrongful death claim. However, before any papers can be filed with the proper authorities, a defendant must be identified. To win your wrongful death claim you will have to prove that your family member’s death was a result of the defendant’s negligence and you have suffered some type of loss.