What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and Do I Qualify for One?

Coping with the loss of a loved one is always difficult. When the loss occurred as a result of negligence or a wrongful act by someone else, the pain can be that much more devastating as well as lead to grievous losses incurred by the surviving family members. If your loved one was the victim of a harmful act on behalf of the negligence of someone else that led to his or her death, you may be entitled to compensation for the damages.

In this article we will discuss what a wrongful death lawsuit is and entails to help you determine if you and your deceased loved one qualify for a wrongful death lawsuit. 

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? 

A wrongful death lawsuit is a lawsuit that is brought on the behalf of an individual who died as a result of the wrongful act of another. The lawsuit is brought to action as a means of recovery to gain compensation for the decedent’s surviving loved ones who incurred damages and losses due to his or her death. The kinds of circumstances that may lead to the wrongful death of another in wrongful death claims are cases that involve medical malpractice, product liability cases or even car accidents. 

What Kind of Damages Are Recognized In a Wrongful Death Claim? 

Besides the devastating loss of a loved one, a death caused by the wrongful act of another can lead to other grievous losses and damages. Many of these losses are financial in nature. These include:

  • Loss of the decedent’s wages and benefits

For example, if the decedent was the breadwinner for their family who otherwise would have had many years left to provide for them, his or her wrongful death would be a tremendous loss for the family, leading to a huge loss of income, as well as other benefits. 

  • Medical and other health care expenses 

Many times in a wrongful death lawsuit, prior to the victim’s death, the wrongful act may lead to tremendous medical and health care expenses, as well as eventually end-of-life hospital expenses.

  • Funeral service and memorialization costs and expenses
  • Compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering
  • Expenses related to the administration of the estate 
  • Loss of companionship due to the death of the decedent

Who May File a Wrongful Death Claim on Behalf of their Deceased Loved One? 

A wrongful death claim must be brought by a representative on behalf of the decedent’s surviving loved ones who incurred damages as a result of the decedent’s death. Such representatives are referred to as the “real parties in interest.” Typically, the representative is the trustee of the decedent. These “real parties in interest” include: 

  • Immediate family members of the decedent
  • Life partners and financial dependents 
  • In some states, distant family members of the decedent such as siblings or grandparents may bring a wrongful death lawsuit
  • In some states, other people who have suffered financial losses due to the death of decedent despite having no direct relation to the decedent may be able to file a wrongful death claim

Review your state’s laws regarding wrongful death actions to determine who is eligible amongst you and the decedent’s surviving loved ones to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Are There Specific Time Constraints in Which a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Must be Filed?

Yes, while it is understandable that the grieving family would need time to mourn the insurmountable loss of their loved one, wrongful death lawsuits must be brought to action within two years of the death of the victim. 

Reach out to Us for Your Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The attorneys at Friedman, Levy, Goldfarb & Green, P.C. understand the devastating damages, and challenges you are facing due to the loss of your loved one as a result of the wrongful act of another. We are committed to serving you with the compassion and care it takes to help you recover the compensation that you may deserve. 

Reach out to us today for a consultation.

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