If a loved one or someone you know was killed due to someone else's negligence, you might have the right to file a wrongful death claim.
Spouses, domestic partners, children, and other family members may have the right to receive monetary damages after the death of someone close to them.
Families may be entitled to benefits to pay for the expenses incurred due to their loved one's death and to replace the financial contributions of the deceased to their family members.
If you have lost a loved one due to another party's negligent actions, it's important to contact an experienced attorney who deals with wrongful death settlements.
They will help you better understand your legal rights and options after your loss.
Wrongful death is a very complex area of the law, and dealing with such cases on your own can be overwhelming.
A knowledgeable attorney can help compile the evidence necessary to help you secure maximum compensation and hold the negligent parties accountable.
But, who pays for the wrongful death lawsuit?
We'll explore that question in the article below.
Who Is Responsible For Paying A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If a negligent party is found responsible for your loved one's death, they are responsible for paying the amount the court mandates.
Wrongful death is a civil suit, not criminal, and each wrongful death case will vary.
Wrongful death lawsuits are commonly brought against hospitals or physicians for improper care or medical malpractice that leads to death.
They can also be brought against motorists who drive irresponsibly or under the influence of alcohol and caused someone's death.
A wrongful death lawsuit can also be brought against a company that marketed or manufactured a defective product that leads to an individual's death.
Wrongful death settlements may also have to be paid by an employer who failed to make conditions safe for employees or actively made them harmful.
For example, a construction company that failed to provide harnesses to employees working at great heights can have a lawsuit brought against them.
Architects or landlords whose buildings were unsafe for residents can also be held liable for wrongful deaths.
Statute of Limitations Can Affect Your Wrongful Death Case
The statute of limitation laws of each state will differ.
Each state has a time limit on the amount of time a family member or representative of a victim's estate has to bring forward a wrongful death lawsuit.
In many states, the statute of limitations is two years, but it can be longer or shorter depending on where you live.
Sometimes the statute of limitations can be extended.
You may be granted more time to file a lawsuit if your family member died from an injury, but you learned about the injury responsible for the death years after the fact.
Types of Compensation Your Family May Be Entitled To
You and your family members may be entitled to compensation for several types of damages, including economic and non-economic damages.
Wrongful death damages can include economic damages like the medical bills associated with the care your relative needed before they passed away.
Damages may also cover the costs for the funeral of your loved one.
If your loved one had a job and contributed to the family financially, you could be entitled to compensation for the loss of their income.
You may also be compensated for the value of services your family member would have provided had they not passed away.
Non-economic damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can cover the intangible things involved in the relationship with your loved one that you lost when you lost them.
For instance, you may be compensated for the loss of companionship, loss of consortium, and the loss of affection, support, and guidance.
Other compensation for your pain and suffering may be available.
Who's Able To File a Lawsuit?
The people who can file a wrongful death lawsuit will vary depending on the state they live in.
Some states will only allow close relatives to file, like their spouse or children.
Other states allow the victim's extended family to file for compensation for their loved one's death.
Some states will even allow a victim’s romantic partner who was not a spouse, someone financially dependent on the deceased person, or someone who would have been entitled to an inheritance to file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Some states don't allow family members to file a wrongful death lawsuit and only allow an executor or a a personal representative in charge of handling the deceased person’s affairs to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the deceased.
The payment received by the representative will be collected and used to satisfy debts, and the remaining will be divided among eligible relatives.
Contact an Experienced Lawyer
The laws surrounding wrongful death lawsuits are complicated, so victims' families need to contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
Your attorney will be on your side throughout the entire process and fight for your rights to ensure that you receive maximum compensation for your tremendous loss.