Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to a claim that a person’s death was caused directly by another person’s negligence or intentional act. This legal action is typically brought forth by close family members or the estate of the deceased person to recover monetary damages for their loss. The concept of wrongful death is rooted in statute law, not common law, meaning that it varies by jurisdiction. The claim didn’t exist until lawmakers created specific statutes to address these kinds of tragic losses. Today, every state has some form of a wrongful death statute, though they can differ significantly.
A wrongful death claim can arise out of many circumstances, such as medical malpractice leading to a patient’s death, a fatal auto accident caused by another driver’s negligence, a death caused by a defective product, or a deliberate killing. However, a wrongful death claim differs from a criminal case for homicide or manslaughter. While they may be related to the same act, they are separate and distinct in the legal system, and a successful wrongful death suit results in civil liability, not criminal punishment.
Damages & Succeeding in a Case
To succeed in a wrongful death suit, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased, that the duty of care was breached through negligence or a deliberate act, that there is a direct causal link between the defendant’s actions and the death, and that damages have resulted from the death. The damages awarded in a wrongful death case can be extensive and can include not only tangible costs such as medical expenses and funeral costs but also intangible losses. These can include the loss of the deceased person’s expected income, loss of companionship, and mental anguish suffered by the family members. In some cases, if the defendant’s conduct was especially egregious, punitive damages may be awarded to further punish the defendant and deter similar behavior in the future.
Statute of Limitations
One key aspect of wrongful death cases is the statute of limitations, which sets a deadline for filing a lawsuit in the civil courts. This period varies from state to state and usually begins on the date of the victim’s death. Dealing with a wrongful death can be one of the most challenging experiences in life. The sudden loss of a loved one coupled with financial and emotional burdens can feel overwhelming. A wrongful death lawsuit can’t replace the loss of a loved one, but it can provide families with financial stability and a sense of justice.
Engaging an experienced wrongful death lawyer from a firm like Ward & Ward Law Firm can make a significant difference in a wrongful death case. They can help navigate the complexities of the legal process, collect necessary evidence, negotiate with insurance companies, and represent the family’s interests in court.
Wrongful death cases are a tragic aspect of the legal system, dealing with the loss of life due to another’s negligence or intentional act. These lawsuits are crucial in helping families find some form of closure and financial support during one of the most challenging times of their lives.