Are You Qualified To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Losing a loved one can be a difficult and traumatic experience, especially if their death was caused by the carelessness or intentional actions of another person or company. In such cases, the family members of the deceased may be entitled to proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit to seek compensation for their losses.
However, not everyone is qualified to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This article will discuss who can file a wrongful death lawsuit, the circumstances under which a death may be classified as wrongful, and other relevant questions concerning a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Are Eligible To File A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
It is important to determine whether you are qualified in filing a wrongful death lawsuit in Los Angeles or other states before proceeding with legal action. Filing a lawsuit without proper qualification can result in the dismissal of the case, wasting time and resources.
The following individuals may have legal standing to file a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The spouse or children of the deceased
- The parents of the deceased
- Other individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased person
- The deceased estate representative
While you might fall under this category, you should understand that every state has different requirements regarding wrongful death lawsuits. It’s, therefore, essential to check with the wrongful death statute in your state to determine if you can file the claim.
When Does Wrongful Death Claim Apply?
Understanding what qualifies as wrongful death is an important step for anyone who has lost a loved one due to the actions or negligence of another person or company. Among situations that warrant a wrongful death claim include:
1. Medical Malpractice
If a healthcare provider makes an incorrect diagnosis leading to their patient’s death, a family member can file a wrongful death claim. Also, if a doctor neglects the patient who later dies for lack of proper treatment, they can be sued for wrongful death.
2. Intentional Killing
A wrongful death claim also applies when an individual kills another person intentionally. For instance, if an employee gets injured at work and decides to file a personal injury claim, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed if the defendant kills the victim to silence them. In such a case, the suspect can be charged with a criminal offense alongside a wrongful death claim.
3. Automobile Accidents
If, after an accident, the deceased is proven to have died due to the other driver’s negligence, a wrongful death claim can apply. Driving while intoxicated, overspeeding, and failing to adhere to traffic rules is categorized as negligence and can attract hefty fines or a lengthy jail term if any accident happens under such circumstances.
This is just a short list of possible scenarios. It is recommended to consult with your legal counsel if your unique situation can be qualified as a wrongful death. It is also important to note that not all deaths are considered wrongful.
How To Prove A Wrongful Death?
Working on a wrongful death case can be a complex legal process that requires evidence and expert testimony. Here are some of the key elements that may be necessary to prove a wrongful death:
- Duty Of Care: The plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant is responsible for taking care of the victim or deceased person. For example, a doctor owes a duty of care to their patient to provide adequate medical treatment.
- Breach Of Duty: This means that the defendant did not act reasonably or fulfill their responsibilities to the deceased person. For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose a serious medical condition that ultimately leads to the patient’s death, they may have breached their responsibility.
- Causation: The plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s carelessness or negligence directly caused the death of the deceased person. For example, if a truck driver causes an accident that leads to a pedestrian’s death, there may be a direct causal link between the driver’s action and the victim’s death.
- Damages: The plaintiff must demonstrate that they suffered damages due to the deceased person’s death, such as lost income, funeral expenses, and emotional pain and suffering.
To prove wrongful death, the plaintiff may need to present evidence such as medical records, witness testimony, and expert analysis. They may also need to work with medical professionals, accident reconstruction specialists, and other experts to build a strong case.
Is Wrongful Death A Criminal Lawsuit?
A wrongful death might not be considered a criminal offense. It’s a civil lawsuit filed by people close to the deceased. Filing a wrongful death claim aims to obtain compensation for the death of a loved one and loss of income.
However, wrongful death is linked to criminal offenses like manslaughter, murder, or homicide. The state files these cases on a law violation basis. These crimes can attract hefty fines and jail time.
Is It Hard To Prove A Wrongful Death?
As stated earlier, you must provide evidence showing the deceased person’s death warrants to be termed wrongful. Only then can the lawsuit on wrongful death basis proceed in court. Unfortunately, proving a wrongful death isn’t a walk in the park. A wrongful death attorney must gather enough evidence incriminating the party believed to have caused the death.
Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Similar To A Personal Injury Claim?
Wrongful death and personal injury claims are similar in many ways. However, the major difference is that a wrongful death lawsuit is filed after the accident has caused death. On the other hand, a personal injury claim is filed when an accident has caused injuries.
Additionally, the victim can negotiate the settlement with the accused person or company regarding personal injury claims. However, this is impossible when it comes to wrongful death lawsuits.
If you believe that you may be qualified to file a wrongful death lawsuit, it is important to consult with an experienced attorney. They can guide you through the legal process and help you seek the compensation you and your family deserve.