When a person is the victim of an injury, they can hold the negligent party responsible. The negligent party will have to pay money to compensate the injured victim. When the injury results in a fatality, who holds the negligent person accountable? Just because the victim died, this doesn’t mean that the defendant walks away without any accountability. Family members can sue and receive compensation on behalf of their dead loved one.
How Do Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work?
A wrongful death claim happens in a situation where, if the victim had survived, they would have been able to file a personal injury claim. The victim died because of the defendant’s actions.
- The family of a murder victim may bring a civil lawsuit against the accused murderer. A civil lawsuit can be brought even if the accused murderer is found innocent by criminal law.
- Another example is medical malpractice. If a doctor does not provide the standard level of care for the patient and because of this the doctor does not diagnose a disease or another incident takes place that results in the patient’s death, a wrongful death action could be brought against the doctor.
- If there is a car accident and the victim dies because of injuries sustained in the accident, a wrongful death claim may be brought against the negligent party.
There are several circumstances where personal injury cases can be turned into wrongful death claims. Any personal injury situation could lead to a wrongful death claim if the victim dies. The only exception to this is work injuries that result in death. These are typically handled through worker’s compensation.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death claims are filed on behalf of the survivors who suffer on account of the victim’s death. These individuals are referred to as “real parties in interest.” Immediate family members, including the spouse and children, could sue for wrongful death. Punitive spouses, life partners, and financial dependents may sue for wrongful death in some states.
In other states, distant family members, including grandparents or brothers and sisters, can bring wrongful death lawsuits. For example, a grandparent who is the guardian of a child who dies may bring about a wrongful death suit.
Why Would a Family File a Wrongful Death Suit?
Filing a wrongful death suit takes a lot of time and effort. However, there are several reasons why it can be beneficial.
By filing a wrongful death suit, the victim’s family holds the person responsible for the death of their loved one. The suit can provide the family with compensation to ease the burden of their loss. Suing and winning may give a family closure for the death of their loved one.
How Much Financial Compensation Will Be Given?
Financial compensation will vary depending on the circumstances of the case. Each case is unique, and each case has unique elements that impact how much compensation is received.
Wrongful death claims offer compensation, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of a relationship, be it with a spouse, parent, or child
- The deceased individual’s pain and suffering prior to death
- Medical expenses and funeral costs
Can a Person File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Without a Lawyer?
By law, a person is not required to have an attorney file a lawsuit. However, using the services of lawyers in Covington Kentucky can make it easier for a grieving family to deal with the long and strenuous process and the many small details involved in filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
When a person files on their own, they must do everything themselves. Their lack of familiarity with the law, their lack of familiarity with the civil justice system, and their emotional attachment to the case will all be a hindrance. Therefore, most legal experts agree that it is better for the family bringing the wrongful death lawsuit to use the services of an experienced attorney.
Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
Every wrongful death claim is unique. However, there are certain elements that most wrongful death claims have. These include:
- An at-fault party who acted irresponsibly, imprudently, or incautiously. The at-fault party may have acted maliciously with the intent to harm.
- Because of the malicious conduct of the at-fault party, the victim was injured.
- The injury led to the death of the victim.
- The death of the victim resulted in financial loss and other damages for the victim’s family.
For there to be a wrongful death claim, it must be proven that the loved one’s death resulted directly from someone’s negligence. It must be proven that the victim’s family suffered financially or otherwise.
While automobile accidents, criminal acts, and medical malpractice are the most common negligence that can cause wrongful death, there are many other forms of negligence that can be included in this list. That is why it is important for the victim’s family to work with ChristopherJacksonLaw.com in Covington Kentucky to identify the liable parties in a claim.
How Are Wrongful Death Damages Calculated?
In a wrongful death case, claimants may receive damages only for the specific wrongs they have suffered because of their loved one’s death. These include:
- Funeral bills
- Pain and suffering prior to death
- Medical bills prior to death
- Future earnings of the deceased
- Loss of consortium
In Kentucky, loss of enjoyment of life is not factored in. However, Kentucky allows for punitive damages if the death resulted from gross negligence or an intentional act on a part of the at fault party.
Dealing with the death of a family member is a heart-wrenching experience. Whether the death was caused by someone else’s negligence is difficult to determine.
There is no amount of money that can compensate a family for losing their loved one. However, the damages provided through wrongful death claims may protect the family’s financial future and attempt to compensate them for the emotional toll of their loss.