When a loved one passes away due to another person or entity’s negligence, there are many different types of damages (financial compensation) the remaining family members can seek. It is important to speak with a competent attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases in order to find out how to pursue a claim, but this information is intended to provide some background for those wishing to understand the process.
Wrongful death actions are types of claims that are brought by family members or loved ones when an individual has been killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another. Most wrongful death claims arise from medical malpractice, motor vehicle collisions, construction incidents, trucking collisions or defective products. To file a wrongful death claim, family members must first open an Estate with the local probate court where the individual died. Then, a lawsuit may be filed on behalf of that individual’s Estate for negligence. The Estate would be entitled to receive compensation for the loss of that individual’s life, including any pain and suffering he or she experienced before death due to negligence, loss of income and earning potential, medical bills incurred and loss of ability to enjoy life’s activities, both past and future. Once the case is resolved by settlement or trial, any compensation received by the Estate would be distributed to survivors either by the terms of a will or by order of the probate court and pursuant to state law.
Derivative claims for family members
Certain family members may also be entitled to file claims for their own losses suffered due to the death of a loved one from negligence. The individual’s spouse, for example, may be able to claim what is called loss of consortium, meaning that the spouse lost out on the loving, meaningful relationship he or she had, as well as the benefits provided by that spouse around the household before he or she passed. In addition, under certain circumstances, children of a deceased parent may be able to file claims for their damages. It is important to speak with a qualified attorney with expertise in these types of cases if you believe you may wish to pursue a wrongful death claim.