What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim involves a death occurring due to the legal fault or negligence of another person. Wrongful death claims can include all types of fatal accidents including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, as well as medical malpractice and product liability claims. Individuals, government agencies, and companies can all be held liable for causing someone’s death due to negligence or acting with intent to harm.
If someone is killed in a car crash, is his/her family entitled to compensation?
If the death was caused by someone else’s negligence, his/her family is absolutely entitled to be compensated. Just like all personal injury claims, in wrongful death claims it must be proven that someone else is at fault for the death. If the driver of the other car caused the accident, damages can be sought. Even if the person who died was partially at fault, damages can still be awarded.
What if the driver who caused the accident didn’t have insurance?
Even in cases where the other driver is not insured or underinsured, a claim may still be made against the driver. A claim may also be made on the insurance of the driver who died. Most insurance policies now have “uninsured motorist” coverage that helps in situations where the other party may be uninsured. A skilled personal injury attorney will be able to read through the insurance policy and advise you on the best course of action.
Who is entitled to be compensated in wrongful death cases?
Typically spouses and children are entitled to compensation in a wrongful death case. Occasionally in cases where there are no children or spouses, siblings and parents can be entitled to compensation.
How are damages determined?
There are several factors that are taken into consideration when calculating damages in a wrongful death case. The most important factor is usually the financial loss to the survivors. This is followed closely by the extent of emotional damages the survivors must endure. If a father who was the main source of support for his wife and kids died as a result of someone else’s negligence, his family would be entitled to substantial financial compensation for their loss. If a small child is the victim of wrongful death, the parents would also be entitled to substantial compensation due to their traumatic and massive emotional loss. In the end, a jury will determine the amount of damages that are appropriate if a settlement is not reached before trial.
If someone was killed instantly, could their family still seek damages for pain and suffering?
Yes, they could. The term “pain and suffering” in wrongful death cases also refers to the ongoing pain and suffering that loved ones must endure due to the loss of someone important to them. Of course in situations where a person did not die instantly but did endure terrible pain, that can also be a factor in receiving greater compensation.
How long does someone have to file a wrongful death claim?
Individual states have different statutes of limitations that dictate how long you can wait to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you think that your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence, or as a deliberate act, it is very important you contact a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as you can. A personal injury attorney will be able to uncover the facts and help make sure you receive just compensation for your loss.
If you or a loved one have been seriously injured in an accident that was not your fault, or you feel you may have a medical malpractice related claim or need social security disability benefits, call Graves McLain, the Tulsa Personal Injury Law Firm for a free confidential consultation at 918-359-6600. An experienced attorney will review your situation at no cost to you. We represent victims and their families in serious injury and death cases arising from medical mistakes, vehicle collisions, and other accidents.
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