Plenty of accidents happen all the time. From auto collisions to slip and fall incidents, people get hurt every day and often can’t prepare for it. However, some accidents are fatal and cause prolonged medical attention. In worst case scenarios, these misfortunes even cost us our loved ones.
When someone dear to us passes away due to another person’s negligence, is there something we can do about it?
The answer is yes. A wrongful death claim is a special aspect of personal injury law that deals specifically with these types of issues. However, do NOT confuse wrongful death with murder – both are as different as night and day. While murder can put someone behind bars, wrongful death is a civil lawsuit that aims to financially compensate you for your loved one’s death.
When Can You File For a Wrongful Death Claim?
This is best determined by speaking with an experienced attorney. As mentioned, a lot of accidents can eventually result in a wrongful death claim. The main point to remember is that there should be a duty towards the deceased, and the responsible party was not able to perform it, leading to the death of said individual.
A good example would be during a car accident. After a collision, a driver may have died on the spot. If proven that the other party was driving drunk and thus, was the one responsible for the accident, he or she could be facing a wrongful death case. Using the same scenario, a wrongful death claim could also be applicable to medical malpractice. If after the accident the injured driver was not given immediate medical attention – and then died – the hospital staff could be facing a lawsuit for breach of duty.
Another thing to look into is intent. There are special instances when a person’s actions will cause direct harm towards another individual. In the O.J. Simpson trial for example, the defendant was found guilty for wrongful death because his actions led to deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman. Even though he was NOT found guilty beyond reasonable doubt for murder, the civil court jury held him legally accountable for the deaths of two people.
In general, different factors must be carefully investigated by your lawyer before deciding whether or not there is a wrongful death claim.
How Much Could a Wrongful Death Claim Be Worth?
Your attorney would be the one to determine how much a case is worth. At times, a wrongful death claim is settled privately between the two parties involved. A veteran wrongful death lawyer will do his best to settle for above average compensation for you and your family. When no one can agree on a certain sum, the issue will then be elevated to court.
It’s important to choose a legal expert who has years of experience in the field of wrongful death because underage, unskilled lawyers may not know how much your case is really worth. Do NOT be content with standard compensation costs because each situation is different. Arguments could arise before or during trial. By having a reliable, practiced wrongful death attorney at your side, you are sure to get the most appropriate amount for your claim.
Please be advised that this article serves only general updates and/or information about legal situations. Therefore, it should not be acted upon WITHOUT specific professional counsel from a legal expert.