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What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

This post shows you what  a wrongful death claim is, who can file, how to hire an attorney, and what to expect in terms of compensation.

What is a wrongful death claim?

Wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of another  person or entity. By entity, we mean a company or organization. Perhaps  the hospital your husband was staying at made key mistakes which cost him his life ... or your car had a fault in it leading to a tragic accident ... or another person is at fault for a death because of drinking and driving. There are many cases where a wrongful death claim  can be made beyond those too.

So you understand the basics, that wrongful death occurs when a loved one is killed because of the actions of someone else.

Every state in the country has some kind of wrongful death laws, though they are different. It's wise to seek professional counsel if you're certain you have a wrongful death claim;if you're not sure, an experienced lawyer can help.

Who can sue?
Who is allowed  to file for wrongful death? Most common is family filing for it. A claim will be filed by a representative on behalf of the family. Most common is immediate family, but also life partners, financial dependents,and putative spouses. All states allow for  immediate family, such as a son or husband, to file. Some states also allow life partners to file a claim. The laws can be different from state to state. Also, if you are dependent on someone for your income or to take care of you, some states allow for a wrongful death claim. In any case, you'll be working with a representative who will serve you as a party of interest. A representative is usually the executor of the estate for the person who died.

Who can be sued?
There are many options for wrongful death claims. For example, if you're husband was killed in an automobile accident, perhaps the other driver had been drinking or made a serous mistake, you can prove fault with the driver.  You might also sue the employer at fault for an automobile accident, such as a semi-truck driver's employer. Or if a car had a a defect, you can quite often sue the car manufacturer if it cost  a life. In some instances, you may also sue hospitals for wrongful death. Car accidents are very common, but they are not the only claims allowed.

How will they pay?
Certainly, there are emotional and economic damages involved in a wrongful death claim. While it may seem insensitive to go over the value of a person who didn't need to die, it's right  to do so. The people who hurt you must pay for what they've done. In wrongful death claims, there are economic, non-economic, and punitive damages. You could have a right to lose wages, hospital bills and more. For non-economic, you may feel the need for psychological help because of grief, and these can be covered. Punitive damages occur when the mistake clearly didn't need to happen, when it was a very grievous error.

The actual amounts  of wrongful death claims can vary. It's wise to hire an experienced attorney to fight your case. Not only will your attorney fees be covered in the final settlement, but you'll also have someone who can increase the final settlement and punishment.