When it comes to wrongful death claims, there is a lot of information out and about in the public arena that is incorrect or misleading. To help you better understand what a claim for wrongful death is all about, here are a few facts.
A wrongful death claim is a special type of personal injury lawsuit that relies on the intentional injury to another that causes death or an unintentional action that results from an inattentive or lack of duty claim. Since the plaintiff is deceased and unable to file an action against the other party on his or her own behalf, the law states the deceased’s estate or surviving family members can claim the right to file on the deceased’s behalf.
Each state has a law on its books that defines what wrongful conduct, wrongful death, and intentional death claims, and proof must be met for a legal action to be filed. There is a Federal Tort Law, but statutes for each state regulate the claims for wrongful death actions within those jurisdictions. The state law also defines the damages allowed and limits about whom can sue on behalf of the deceased. This claim is separate from criminal charges, and if someone is acquitted of murder, they can still be sued by the family in a wrongful death claim in civil court.
Damages are broken legally into two categories that are then further broken into many different sections. The two types of damages are compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages make sure the family is paid for the deceased’s medical bills, funeral expenses, and any other type of costs incurred prior to, and because of, the plaintiff’s death. Some states also allow the family to sue for companionship, lost wages, and quality of life.
The punitive type of damages in a wrongful death case depends on how reckless or intentional the damages were that the defendant perpetrated against the plaintiff and how long the plaintiff suffered as a result of those actions. Punitive damages are meant to punish the defendant for his or her actions. The claims can include
- Funeral and burial costs
- Suffering and pain experienced by the plaintiff before death
- Loss of family relationship or consortium
- Inheritance costs because of early death
When the courts consider the amount to award for wrongful death actions, the number of years the deceased would contribute to the family, his or her health, and the work status claimed by the deceased are all taken into account.
If someone you love has suffered from a wrongful death at the hands of another individual, contact a wrongful death lawyer to help you file the claim. An experienced personal attorney lawyer, like a wrongful death lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL, who specializes in wrongful death cases can make sure you are compensated to the full extent of the law.
Thank you to the expert lawyers at Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. for their insight into wrongful death cases and the law.