When faced with the death of a loved one, your whole world has changed. Even if the deceased was not an income earner, you may be facing medical and funeral expenses in addition to the anguish of losing their loved one. You may find yourself wondering, even through your grief, how you’ll survive financially.
Wrongful death claims can involve all types of fatal accidents, from simple car crashes to complicated product liability or medical malpractice lawsuits. If you can demonstrate losses—financial, emotional or both—due to the death of a loved one, you may have a wrongful death claim against the individual or company whose negligence caused your loss.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Survivors of the deceased who suffer damage or financial loss from the death may decide to file a wrongful death lawsuit. These survivors are known as “real parties in interest.” Real parties in interest may include:
- Immediate family members, including adopted children
- Parents of minor, and in some cases unborn, children
- Life partners or other financial dependents
In some cases, unrelated persons who can demonstrate financial loss due to the death may file a wrongful death suit.
Categories of Damages
In a wrongful death suit, there can be three categories of damages to which the real parties in interest may be entitled. By combining one or more of these types of damages, a personal injury attorney can help his or her client arrive at a claim amount.
- The deceased person’s losses from the time of the negligence that caused the injury up until his or her death. This can include medical costs, lost wages, pain and suffering.
- Losses experienced by the estate or next of kin after the death.
- Loss of consortium. This amount is to compensate immediate family members deprived of the deceased’s love, companionship and guidance.
Of course, no amount of monetary damages will fill the hole left by the loss of a loved one. However, working with a caring, capable wrongful death attorney can help you and your family put the pieces back together after your tragic loss.
The law limits the time you have to file a claim, so it’s important to speak with a wrongful death lawyer as soon as you’re able.