When a person dies due to another person’s fault or reckless behavior, it is a major tragedy. Members of the surviving family may wonder why this had to happen, what could have been done to prevent it and why the people at fault acted the way they did. While it may be one of the most tumultuous times for the victim’s family and friends, there are laws in place which have been put in place to help provide compensation to enable them to get through the process of grieving and provide at least a degree of recompense for their loss. The process for dealing with such incidents is known as a wrongful death claim and it is designed to help compensate for expenses such as the lost income of the deceased person, the cost of holding a funeral and for the overall emotional trauma suffered by the survivors. Read on to learn more about wrongful death claims and what kinds of damages can be recovered by the survivors of someone lost in this tragic way.
What Classifies as Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death means that a person has died due to the fault of a third party. Examples of this can include reckless driving or other form of careless behavior that results in death. Car and truck accidents are the most common causes of wrongful death, but others include construction, aviation or any other accident where negligence is involved.
Who can Sue for Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim is made by a representative of the family or survivors of the person who has died in the accident. This person usually executes the estate of the deceased. If your loved one has died as the result of an accident that was not their fault, there are experienced personal injury lawyers who will be happy to represent you. They will help collect the information you need to file the claim and guide you through the entire legal process with as little stress as possible.
The people who may sue for wrongful death are the “real parties in interest” of the deceased person. These typically include immediate family members, life partners, financial dependents, distant family members and anyone who might suffer financially from the death of this person. The laws regarding precisely who may sue for a wrongful death vary from state to state, so you are advised to check the rules where you live.
Who can be Sued for a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death claims are not just made against individuals responsible for an accident. They can also be made against companies, government agencies and employees; basically, whatever entity is responsible for causing the death. A good example is a car accident resulting in death, where the incident occurred on a faulty road. The person responsible might not be the other driver; it might actually be the people responsible for building and maintaining the road. Many road deaths involve the use of alcohol, in which case the person responsible must be carefully examined. If he or she is under 21, whoever served them alcohol would be the ones responsible for the death. What is more, the server could also be responsible if the person who caused the death was overly intoxicated.