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Definition of Wrongful Death Lawsuit

A wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action brought against a person to recover damages for the death of another person caused by negligence or unlawful violence. The wrongful death case can be brought by surviving beneficiaries including a spouse, minor children or parents. If there are no remaining survivors a case may be filed by a personal representative to recover damages for hospital, nursing, medical, funeral and estate costs.

The intention of the wrongful death suit is to compensate family members of the deceased who have been financially and emotionally impacted by the negligence, recklessness, or deliberate action of another negligent party. To win a wrongful death claim the beneficiaries must prove the death was caused by another person's negligence and the surviving members must prove they have suffered measurable damages from the death. Common wrongful death claims include car accidents, work place deaths, medical malpractice and deaths caused while in the commission of a crime.

Beneficiaries who win a wrongful death claim may be entitled to medical bill payments, burial expenses, lost wage compensation, and potentially punitive payments. All states have a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim. Failure to file within a specified time period will bar you from recovering damages.

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