Unfortunately, wrongful death is a rare but possible occurrence. If you believe one of your loved ones was the victim of wrongful death, it may be time to look into filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Here are the ins and outs of how these types of lawsuits work.
What a wrongful death lawsuit is for
A wrongful death claim can be filed when a person dies because of the legal fault of another person. These claims are typically handled at the state level as each state has its own wrongful death law.
The following are some examples of cases that may qualify for a wrongful death claim:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
People, organizations, and governmental agencies can be found legally at fault due to negligence or even for acting with intention.
How the case progresses
Not just anybody meets the criteria for filing a wrongful death claim. Below are the most common examples of eligible people, although it is evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
- Immediate family members of the deceased, such their spouse, children, or if unmarried, their parents
- Others in close relation such as a life domestic partner, anyone who legally claims to be a dependent of the deceased or putative spouses
- Those who suffer financially due to the death such as those who fund the post-life costs or those who depended on the deceased for life expenses
- Other family members such as siblings or grandparents of the deceased in certain cases
Once the claim is filed, there are two options if determined valid: go to court or settle. Many times, wrongful death claims end in settlements to avoid further emotional and financial trauma on the victim’s loved ones. When going to trial, the process is similar to any other civil case.
Options for settling
If the filer decides to accept a settlement offer from the defendant, they have options to choose from. They will need to know the difference between accepting a structured settlement or a lump sum payout. While there are benefits to both, it is a complex process that a lawyer can help walk them through. It is recommended to invest in a good lawyer for all wrongful death claims.