What Do You Need for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Last Updated on June 11, 2021 by Fair Punishment Team

A wrongful death is considered to be a death that occurred due to the intent, negligence, or misconduct of another person or entity.

If you have lost someone due to an incident that was at the fault of another person or entity, then you can file for a wrongful death lawsuit. However, when you file this lawsuit, you need to have certain elements to do so. 

You must first ensure that the death was indeed a wrongful death. The death must be caused by another persons’ negligence or misconduct, or by another person’s intent to cause harm to the deceased individual.

As well as this, there must be monetary injuries of which are related to the death of the person, for the surviving family members. There must also be an appointment of a personal representative for the estate of the decedent. 

What do you need for a wrongful death lawsuit

You must ensure to file the case for a wrongful death within the time constraints that are set forth within the statute of limitations in the state where the person passed away.

There are, however, exceptions, as you may file a claim after this time if an investigation of the death does not determine the cause of the action until a time beyond the set time constraints. 

You will need to prove that the defendant (person or entity who caused harm) owed a duty of care unto the deceased.

You must also prove that the defendant breached this duty of care, furthermore, if this is not sufficient then you may also need to show if the defendant broke the law in some manner that resulted in the wrongful death. This may be the case in some more extreme situations. 

Can you file a civil suit for wrongful death?

You can indeed file a civil suit for a wrongful death. A wrongful death claim is a civil suit for monetary damages.

This type of case is very different from criminal charges that may otherwise be filed by a prosecutor or direct attorney against the same defendant. Criminal charges will often result in a type of punishment, these can include a fine or imprisonment.

But, in the case of a criminal prosecution there is no award of damages to the surviving family members of the person, following the death of the deceased. Damages for the death of the deceased can then only be obtained via a civil lawsuit

Thus, it is perfectly sensible to file a civil suit for a wrongful death case. Even if the defendant has been prosecuted for the death, this does not mean that the family will receive any damage costs.

If you and your family have suffered, especially financially, as the result of the death, then a civil suit can assist in the recovery of these financial damages. 

It is wise to remember that a criminal case will prosecute the defendant, whereas a civil suit recovers damages for the family of the deceased. 

What happens in a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death claim can be made as a result of a victim being intentionally killed, the result of medical malpractice, or even car accidents that involve negligence.

During a wrongful death lawsuit, you (the plaintiff) must hold the defendant liable in a wrongful death, your claim must meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet if they had lived.

An example of this is if the case was one of negligence, then this means that the defendant owed the victim duty of care, and this negligence of this duty of care directly corresponded to the cause of death, and the death caused by this has caused damages that you (the plaintiff) are trying to recover. 

While this sounds simple enough, proving a case of wrongful death can be very complex, and certain deadlines will apply for filing a wrongful death saw suit.

This is something that you should take into consideration, and it can be very useful to hire a lawsuit right away.

If you suspect that your loved ones passing was the direct result of another persons’ negligence or misconduct then getting a lawyer will be very useful in the pursuit of filing your claim and getting a decent settlement in your lawsuit

Getting a lawyer in the case of any lawsuit will be very useful, but wrongful death lawsuits can get complex for this reason it is always good to contact a lawyer in the event that you believe that you could be facing a wrongful death lawsuit. 

What qualifies as wrongful death?

A wrongful death is what happens when someone is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another person, company, or entity.

There may, in some cases, be a criminal prosecution related to the fatality, however a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that is separate. Also remember that the standard of proof is lower in civil cases than criminal cases. 

There are many different circumstances in which can be considered for a wrongful death lawsuit. These can include, vehicular accidents, medical malpractice, toxic torts, defects in manufacturing, criminal activity and anything in between. 

Do be aware that every state will have its own statute for wrongful deaths, as well as its own criteria, and procedures for bringing about this lawsuit.

You should consider the legal action and laws in your state to know how this will affect you. There are also some companies and agencies that will have governmental immunity from the prosecution of wrongful death lawsuits. 

The damages that you can file as a claim in a wrongful death lawsuit can vary and touch on many topics, ranging from the pre-death of the deceased, considered as pain and suffering, medical treatment costs prior to death, funeral and burial costs, loss of income, loss of inheritance, loss of services otherwise provided, loss of care or guidance, loss of love and companionship, and loss of consortium. 

Wrongful death lawsuits can be complex in how they are settled, thus, it is best to get a lawyer at your first suspicion.