If you lose a loved one in an accident caused by another person’s negligence, then you’ll be able to file a wrongful death claim against that person. There is a standard of proof that you’ll need to meet in order to win your case. Your attorney can help make sure you have all the evidence and documents in order before you proceed.
Each element of a wrongful death lawsuit must be present to take it to court. The elements include having an appointed representative for the deceased, the ability to show monetary suffering caused by the death, the ability to show that negligence caused the death, and the proof that it was a human being who passed away. Pets and other creatures do not qualify for wrongful death lawsuits.
When you file your claim, you’ll be able to request a number of types of compensation. There are three main forms including punitive damages, pecuniary losses, and survival actions. Punitive damages are usually only awarded when the fatality was caused by malicious or serious wrongdoing.
Pecuniary losses are different, because they are awarded for the loss of support, the loss of a prospective inheritance, and so on. These losses are a direct result of the person passing away.
Finally, survival actions can be requested for the pain and suffering the deceased went through. The award will be determined based on the degree the person was aware of the risk of death, the severity of pain and suffering, and the duration of the suffering. If the person had the apprehension of impending death, this will also be factored into the award.
Source: FindLaw, “Wrongful Death Overview,” accessed Jan. 06, 2016