How a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works

Schrier Law Group handles many cases, but one of the most difficult is the wrongful death suit. Wrongful death claims are brought against a defendant who has caused one’s death, either through negligence or as a result of intentional action. Wrongful death claims allow the estate and/or those close to a deceased to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death.

When Does a Wrongful Death Claim Apply

A wrongful death claim can arise after situations in which a victim who would otherwise have a valid personal injury claim is killed as a result of the defendant’s wrongful action.

This can occur in a variety of situations, including:

  • When a victim is intentionally killed
  • When a victim dies as a result of medical malpractice
  • Car accident fatalities involving negligence

These are just a few examples of personal injury cases that can turn into wrongful death claims. A wrongful death claim can stem from almost any kind of personal injury situation.

What Must Be Proven

In order to hold a defendant liable in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiffs in the claim must meet the same burden of proof that the victim would have had to meet had the victim lived. So this means showing that the defendant owed the victim a duty of care, that the defendant breached this duty, that the breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of the death, and that the death caused the damages that the plaintiff is trying to recover.

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. Exactly who those survivors are can vary from state to state.

In all states, a spouse may bring a wrongful death action 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 a parent.

Where states start to disagree is whether parents of adult children can sue, whether adult children can sue for the 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 get a legal remedy via a wrongful death case.

Wrongful Death Damages

Damages in a wrongful death claim categories of losses for which a survivor might be able to receive compensation include:

  • the deceased person’s pre-death “pain and suffering”
  • the medical treatment costs that the deceased victim incurred as a result of the injury prior to death
  • funeral and burial costs
  • loss of the deceased person’s expected income
  • loss of any inheritance as a result of the death
  • value of the services that the deceased would have provided
  • loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the deceased would have provided
  • loss of love and companionship, and
  • loss of consortium

The Schrier Law Group handles many wrongful death cases, and Schrier Law has the resources necessary to help you and your family score a successful outcome in any wrongful death case. It is important that you have your rights defended by someone who knows the law. Contact the Schrier Law Group for a personal injury attorney in Florida today!