Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death claims: what are they, when can you sue, who is liable and what damages can be recovered?
What constitutes a wrongful death?
Wrongful death has a two-part explanation. It exists because someone has died due to the legal fault of another person or group of individuals. And often criminal action has either failed or was not attempted to bring justice in the victim’s death.
Wrongful death claims may be brought under many circumstances:
- Car accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Criminal behavior
- Death during a supervised activity
Who gets sued in wrongful death cases?
Wrongful death claims can be straightforward or involve several layers of individuals that may appear on the surface to be several degrees removed from the death.
For example, in a fatal car accident, the victim’s family may pursue a wrongful death case against the driver. That driver is accused of directly causing the death. Now what if that driver was also accused of driving drunk at the time of the crash? Then the bar where the driver was served could also be implicated in the lawsuit.
The same thing goes for faulty auto parts. If an airbag fails to deploy when a vehicle is hit and the driver dies, it’s possible the airbag manufacturer could be named in the wrongful death lawsuit.
Who files wrongful death lawsuits?
A representative working on behalf of the survivors of the victim will bring a wrongful death lawsuit.
Often the representative may be the executor of the victim’s estates. The group of survivors is often made up of:
- Immediate family members (spouses and children)
- Distant family members (siblings, grandparents, etc)
- Life partners
- All persons who suffer financially from the death of the victim (some states allow this)
What kinds of damages can be recovered?
Various considerations are made to determine what damages survivors may be entitled to. These could include funeral costs, medical costs, loss of income and lost pension.
The earning potential of the victim will be weighed against things like their age, education, chronic medical conditions and personal history.
Should I accept the settlement offered from the insurance company?
It’s never a good idea in any case to accept the first settlement offered. You should always consult with a trusted attorney before doing so.
Insurance settlements may not consider the full effect the victim’s death has had on the lives of their loved ones.
A wrongful death lawyer St. Paul, MN trusts knows how to pursue and secure maximum damages from the people or organizations responsible for your loved one’s death. They understand that when you’re mourning the loss of a loved one you don’t need to be worrying about seeking justice in their wrongful death and can help you bring those responsible to justice.
Thank you to our friends and contributors at Johnston | Martineau, PLLP for their insight into personal injury and wrongful death cases.