A wrongful death attorney helps family members get compensated for losses sustained when a loved one dies due to someone else’s negligence or misconduct. They can handle many types of cases. Each one is complex and has a unique set of circumstances. That’s why you need an experienced wrongful death attorney who’s handled similar lawsuits and has the skills to negotiate a fair settlement.
What Is the Definition of Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim. However, since the accident caused the victim’s death, they cannot sue or negotiate a settlement. Instead, their family or a personal representative of the decedent’s estate must pursue the case. They must prove the person or entity on the other side failed to fulfill a legal duty, which directly led to the victim’s death.
A wrongful death claim is a civil action. The goal is to obtain financial compensation for the loss of a loved one and their income. Criminal charges, such as homicide, murder, manslaughter, or negligent driving, are brought separately but can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.
What Cases Can Involve a Wrongful Death?
One reason to hire a wrongful death attorney is there are different types of wrongful death cases. The most common include:
- Intentional Acts: An individual suspected of murder, assault, or battery can face several charges. The family of a decedent can pursue a wrongful death case to obtain compensation from the attacker.
- Negligence: If the defendant’s actions exhibited a level of care below that of a reasonable person in similar circumstances, you could pursue a wrongful death claim against them. Various types of cases can fall under the negligence category, including:
- Car Accidents: A driver who was drunk, distracted, or texting while driving, who caused an accident that resulted in someone’s death, can be the target of a wrongful death lawsuit.
- Slip and Fall Cases: A business can be liable if, for example, an employee fails to wipe up a slippery floor. Failing to fix a loose step or otherwise neglecting repairs can also violate its duty to keep occupants or visitors safe.
- Defective Products: The manufacturer or seller of a defective product that caused an injury leading to the victim’s death can be sued by a wrongful death attorney.
- Failure to Warn: A business, contractor, or agency can be liable if it fails to place warning signs alerting of a hazardous condition on-premises or on a roadway. If a product label misinforms a user or omits information, the manufacturer or packager can face liability.
- Dog Bites: The owner of a dog who bit a person, who subsequently dies of injuries sustained as a result of the dog bite, can be named in a wrongful death claim.
- Construction Accidents: Injuries and deaths are common on construction sites with inadequate fall protection or where persons are struck by falling objects, get caught in between materials, or are hit by a vehicle, exposed to dangerous chemicals, or electrocuted.
- Malpractice: If a doctor’s, nurse’s, or other care provider’s actions or low standard of care is attributed to a person’s death, they can be held responsible. Examples of malpractice include surgical errors, prescribing the wrong medications or dosages, or failing to diagnose a serious condition.
Proving Wrongful Death
For a wrongful death attorney to be successful in getting family members compensated, they must prove:
- The defendant intentionally committed a wrongful act or behaved negligently.
- Their actions or negligent behavior directly resulted in the person’s death.
- The damages sought by the plaintiff are associated with the death.
Proving wrongful death also requires gathering the evidence needed to support the claim. A wrongful death attorney knows the kind of evidence that must be collected. It must be gathered before it’s lost or destroyed, while witness statements and notifying an insurance company are also important steps.
What Kinds of Damages Can Be Awarded in a Wrongful Death Case?
An attorney can help obtain compensation for medical bills, which can include the cost of diagnostic tests, surgery, rehabilitation, medication, and hospice care before the victim’s death. Other economic damages can include lost wages. Lost potential income, lost benefits, and funeral expenses can also be covered. However, family members can receive non-economic damages as well, including loss of parental support for a child, loss of future inheritances, loss of companionship, etc.
Do I Need a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
A wrongful death attorney knows the circumstances that often lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. They can represent a surviving spouse, parent, child, or any immediate family member. Expertise allows them to handle various complicating factors. For example, a government agency or employee usually has immunity from a wrongful death lawsuit, while employers often cannot be sued for an employee’s wrongful death at work (workers’ compensation insurance generally covers such claims). Nonetheless, a skilled attorney can help navigate such complex cases.
Call Jacob Today
The Law Offices of Jacob Emrani have helped many clients with their wrongful death lawsuits. We examine the unique circumstances of each case and hold wrongdoers and negligent parties liable to pay damages. When an accident causes the death of a loved one, our wrongful death attorney can help. Contact us online or call (888) 952-2952 for your free consultation.