When an accident results in a loved one's untimely death, you may be entitled to file suit. While no amount of compensation will result in making you whole again, taking action can create something positive out of a sad situation. To find out more about personal injury lawsuits that focus on wrongful death, read on.
Helping Others Through a Lawsuit
Your loved one may be able to help others if you take legal action. Whether it was a careless driver or a negligent business owner, wrongful death suits can call out and punish those who caused harm. Accidents can happen, but if your loved one's death can be traced back to behavior that was egregious and purposeful, the case might serve to warn others and to force the wrongdoer to make necessary changes. For example, taking action might prevent others from suffering harm in these cases:
- Accidental deaths caused by a driver texting, drunk, eluding law enforcement, etc.
- Accidental deaths caused by faulty gym equipment, airbags, pressure cookers, etc.
- Accidental deaths caused by an improperly labeled or manufactured drug, cosmetic, food, etc.
- And more.
Know Who Can Bring Suit
Not just anyone can bring a wrongful death suit and be compensated. In general, the person who sues must be impacted financially by the death of a loved one and be a relative. The exact nature of the relationship varies depending on state laws. In some cases, domestic partners are recognized as next of kin and can sue. Often, however, it is the parents, minor children, and the spouses who can file the suit.
Elements to Understand
The law states that four elements must be present for a wrongful death suit to be brought in court. It's worth mentioning, however, that many wrongful death suits never make it to court. The defending party often makes an offer that the plaintiffs accept and the case is over immediately. Wrongful death situations are based on these elements:
- A human being has died.
- The death was directly caused by another person or an entity through either negligence or intent.
- Relatives of the deceased experienced financial losses because of the death.
- A personal representative or executor has been appointed or approved by the probate courts to oversee the estate of the deceased.
The second element is the crux of most wrongful death suits. The cause of death be must connected to the defendant in some way and it must be shown that they knew or should have known about the harm and failed to mitigate.
Speak to a personal injury attorney to find out more about wrongful death issues today.