A death resulting from misconduct on the part of another person or a company is considered a “wrongful death”. The misconduct by the responsible party can range from negligence or carelessness to an intentional criminal act resulting in a wrongful death. A single person may be responsible, or the death may be due to the job site where the wrongful death victim worked, a company that produces a specific item (such as a drug company), or an establishment such as a hospital.
There are a number of wrongful death situations, including work-related accidents, medical mistakes or malpractice, automobile and plane accidents, and sports related accidents. A wrongful death may also occur due to the unsafe nature of the premises on which the incident occurs. For instance, if a property owner fails to adequately secure access to a pool, a child’s drowning on that property may constitute a wrongful death.
The loss of a loved one is always devastating, and the trauma surrounding a wrongful death can be especially difficult to deal with. However, if a loved one has died as the result of another’s wrongdoing or negligence, filing a wrongful death suit may help to bring some sense of resolution to the loss of life. In addition, a party found liable for a wrongful death will be held accountable, minimizing the chances that another person will suffer or die due to the same circumstances.
Depending upon the state in which the wrongful death suit is filed and the relationship of the persons filing to the deceased, various losses and damages may be claimed in a wrongful death suit. For a spouse, compensation may be due for the loss of the love, affection, companionship, and services of the deceased for their joint life expectancy. If the wrongful death victim had dependant children, they may be entitled to recover the loss of guidance, affection, and support of the deceased. Wrongful death survivors are also entitled to “actual losses”, which include hospital and funeral expenses, and lost wages.
Wrongful death lawsuits are delicate and should be handled by an attorney familiar with the particular legal requirements involved. A lawyer who has experience representing survivors in wrongful death suits will be able to explain the necessary legal methods while remaining sensitive to the needs of the bereaved.