Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit: What You Need to Know

filing a wrongful death lawsuit and a picture of a casket

Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit: What You Need to Know

When a loved one dies from neglect, recklessness, or the behavior of another, filing a lawsuit and seeking damages is likely to be one of the last thoughts to enter one’s mind. But it is important to have the proper legal counsel during this difficult time. 

A wrongful death lawsuit seeks to collect monetary damages for your loved one’s untimely death. It is a civil court action that will determine the amount of damages or monetary compensation the surviving family members are entitled to receive due to the wrongful death of their loved one. 

What are the requirements for filing a wrongful death lawsuit?

A legally supportable reason for a civil lawsuit is required to file this type of suit. The basis of a wrongful death lawsuit is that the deceased individual lost his/her life directly due to someone else’s negligence or intentional act. The family members must also be directly impacted emotionally and financially as a result of the death.

These two criteria must be established in order for a family member to have a successful wrongful death lawsuit:

  1. The death must be proven to have been caused by the other party’s recklessness, negligence, or by a deliberate act. The deceased cannot have brought his/her demise by his/her own action or inaction. 
  2. The surviving family members must prove that they suffered measurable damages due to their loved one’s wrongful death. 

Automobile accidents, work related accidents, medical malpractice, or an unlawful act are a few incidents that are common ground for wrongful death lawsuits. 

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The state in which you live determines who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, although children and spouses can file in all 50 states. In some states, extended family members – including grandparents, siblings, etc. – can file. 

Probate Is a Necessary Step

The family must create a probate estate so they can sue on behalf of their recently deceased loved one. A guardian must be appointed to advocate for a minor’s best interest if they are involved in such a case. 

What Types of Damages Can The Family Collect?

There are several different types of damages that a surviving family can collect once they established their loved one’s death was due to a wrongful act. These include:

  • Hospitalization and medical bills 
  • Burial expenses
  • Lost wages that their loved one would have earned had he/she lived a normal life expectancy
  • Monetary damages for the pain and suffering endured by the surviving family members 
  • Punitive damages that are intended to punish the person who caused the death and discourage similar behavior in the future 

Every state has statutes of limitations that enforce how long the surviving family can wait before filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Even though the thought of such an action may not be at the forefront of your mind – due to grief – it is important to not wait too long to file as the state will forever bar you from doing so.  

Contact Kasunic Law today and schedule a consultation so we can represent you during this difficult time and seek justice for your loved one’s death and your pain and suffering.