As far as personal injuries go, the worst injury one can suffer as a result of someone else’s intentional or negligent behaviour is death. While the injured party can’t file a wrongful death lawsuit, his or her surviving family members can file a suit on behalf of the deceased person, also referred to as the decedent.
A wrongful death lawyer is needed when someone’s life has been taken due to negligence.
Although a successful wrongful death suit can’t bring the victim back, it can allow the victim’s loved ones to receive compensation for their loss.
Damages in a wrongful death suit can include loss of support, any medical and funeral expenses, and the loss of consortium.
The Dallas based law firms consist of attorneys that represent the deceased victim’s case, to ensure that the family receives a fair compensation to move on, however hard it may be.
What is Wrongful Death Law?
Wrongful death law applies in tort cases in which the defendant’s conduct has resulted in the death of the victim, leaving behind surviving family members and dependents who will suffer as a result of the victim’s absence. The purpose of these laws is to compensate the survivors, not the deceased victim. Wrongful death laws are found in modern state statutes. Time limits for filing suit, plaintiff qualifications, and permissible damages vary by state.
Most jurisdictions distinguish between wrongful death and a related claim known as a survivor action. Both causes of action serve the purpose of holding tortfeasors responsible for their conduct when the victim dies.
The difference is that wrongful death cases pay compensation to the victim’s family members for their own damages. They can recover for the loss of financial, emotional, and other support the victim had been contributing to the household.
When is a wrongful death claim applicable?
A wrongful death claim is applicable when a victim who would otherwise have a personal injury claim is killed as a result of either negligence or an intentional harmful act on the part of the defendant.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim, on behalf of survivors who had a relationship with the victim.
In Dallas, a spouse may bring a wrongful death action, to the appointed lawyer, on behalf of his or her deceased spouse. Parents of minors may also bring a wrongful death action if one of their children is killed, and minors can collect compensation for the death of their parents.
Where states start to disagree is whether parents of adult children can sue, whether adult children can sue for wrongful death of their parents, whether grown siblings can sue for wrongful death, or whether extended relatives like cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents can sue. Usually, the more distant the familial relationship is, the harder it will be to show that you should be allowed to collect wrongful death damages.
Types of Common Wrongful Death Cases:
- Motor vehicle accidents: This is by far the most common cause of wrongful death. According to the most recent data available from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were a staggering 30,800 traffic fatalities in the US in 2012. Although there are some cases where neither driver in an accident can be found fully responsible, there are many more when someone who was driving recklessly-because they were distracted, fatigued, intoxicated, inexperienced, or impaired in any other way-caused the wrongful death of someone in their own vehicle or the occupants of another vehicle in the crash.
- Pedestrian accidents: Older adults and children are at a particularly high risk for being injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, although anyone can suffer from this type of accident. Common factors in pedestrian accidents include reckless driving, limited field of vision, and lack of pedestrian walkways.
- Medical malpractice: The most common allegation for medical malpractice is misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a health issue, followed by surgery errors and treatment errors.
- Workplace accidents: While workplace fatalities are most common among manual-labor occupation groups, workplace accidents and deaths can occur even in a seemingly safe office.
The resulting compensation from a wrongful death suit varies but in most cases is greater than an average injury suit. The courts do take into account the suffering people go through after losing a loved one due to negligence.
Oftentimes it hurts more to lose a family member unnecessarily and therefore pain and suffering is awarded to families of the deceased. Other financial losses will also be considered such as hospitalizations as a result of the accident, doctor’s bills, loss of wages, future loss of wages and the cost of funeral services. Any financial loss, as well as pain and suffering, should be paid by the negligent parties.