How Wrongful Death Is Proven and Who Can Sue?
Losing a loved one because somebody had neglectful behavior is a tragic event. Regardless of whether the death occurred due to a distracted driver, a medical professional’s negligence, or a defective product, the death of your loved one brings grief and financial struggles.
When asking a wrongful death lawyer, they agree that wrongful death lawsuits are complex processes that need extensive legal knowledge to resolve. Proving that the death occurred due to another’s negligence requires thorough documentation and evidence.
You deserve to receive compensation for your loss. If you lose a spouse, the dynamic of your house is completely changed. On the other hand, losing a parent can take away your support system. If you lost a close relative due to the negligence of a third party, the following points would help you understand how wrongful death lawsuits work.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits occur when the deceased’s family sues a third party to seek justice for their loss. The third party must have engaged in inappropriate behaviors or practices, resulting in the individual’s death. Carelessness and violence are usually the most common cases of wrongful death.
This type of lawsuit requires extensive documentation and evidence before a judge can reach a verdict. For a wrongful death case to meet the standard requirements, you must prove the following elements:
The first step in this kind of lawsuit is to prove that your relative’s death happened due to a third party’s negligence or recklessness. For example, suppose an individual was driving under the influence of alcohol or other illicit substances and hit your relative. In that case, they will be liable for compensation.
Another typical case is when a doctor commits medical malpractice by misdiagnosing or treating improperly. If you can prove that a doctor’s misconduct caused the death of your relative, you can sue the medical professional for compensation.
2. Breach of Duty of Care
Furthermore, you must prove that the third party owed a duty of care to the victim. For example, a motorist must drive safely and always follow road regulations. Otherwise, if an accident occurs, the driver will be responsible for the damages they caused, including wrongful death.
To ensure that your lawsuit is successful, you must clearly establish how the duty of care existed and how the negligent actions breached it. To prove that the duty of care was breached towards the victim, you need to show how it occurred and led to the death of your relative.
3. Types of Damages
Wrongful death lawsuits must include significant damages caused by the defendant. Some of the most common damages are hospitalization, medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of income, and potential earnings. Additionally, you can sue for non-economic damages such as loss of protection, affection, and pain and suffering of the victim before their death.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
There are some common causes of wrongful death. When filing a lawsuit, the elements mentioned above apply to all of the following cases:
- Birth injuries and medical malpractice
- Accidents involving vehicles such as motorcycles, commercial trucks, or cars
- Occupational hazards
- Product defects
- Supervised activities (adult care, daycare, field trips)
- Abuse and neglect in cases of assisted living or nursing homes
- Criminal actions (stabbing, shootings, violent actions)
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
When it comes to who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, the answer is simple. Only the immediate family has the right to sue for damages. Most typical cases involve the deceased person’s spouse or child, the spouse having priority. If the deceased has no children, the responsibility will pass to another relative from the extended family.
Additionally, the statute of limitation in Florida gives a two-year deadline for wrongful death lawsuits, including medical malpractice, death due to negligence, murder or manslaughter, and suits involving government entities.
How Does Losing Your Loved One Affect You?
When a loved one meets an untimely demise, you can experience extensive losses that affect your lifestyle now and in the future. To avoid going through dire situations, you must seek compensation for the damages you suffered. Hospital stays, ambulance services, surgeries, and treatments are expensive. If your loved one incurred medical bills due to another’s negligence, you could sue for compensation to cover those expenses.
On the other hand, if you lost a parent or a spouse, you might have lost vital financial support, especially if you relied on their income. You can sue for compensation to cover the loss of your relative’s pension or a potential inheritance. These financial awards will help you recover from your hardships, at least financially.
Recovering some of your financial losses is essential for your future well-being. Wrongful death cases allow you to sue for non-economic damages for the emotional distress and mental anguish you suffered due to the loss of companionship, affection, and support. Wrongful death lawsuits are not easy to go through. They imply open emotional wounds that did not have the time to heal properly.
Hire an Attorney to Represent You
As mentioned above, wrongful death cases require much care. Before receiving compensation, you must go through a lengthy trial where you must provide extensive evidence. Discussing the pain and suffering your loved one went through before their death is difficult. You might need additional help to receive an award.
A knowledgeable lawyer will understand your circumstances and make everything possible to earn a fair amount of compensation. Your attorney will assess your situation, evaluate the damages and the exact circumstances of the accident, and prepare a strategy to ensure you receive what you deserve.
Having a lawyer by your side ensures that your case is well taken care of. As wrongful death is a complicated matter, having solid evidence in court might determine the results of your lawsuit. A qualified attorney knows the process and what must be done so the judge can give a verdict. Knowing that you have a strong case will allow you to grieve the loss of your loved one with your family.