Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Can I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Suffering the loss of a loved one is one of the most challenging things a person can endure. When an individual dies due to the negligence of another person, then the surviving relatives may file a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of claim can hold the person or entity responsible for the death of another. We understand that a lawsuit cannot rectify the hardship you and your family have experienced due to your loved one’s passing. However, a wrongful death lawsuit can recover compensation for lost wages from the deceased, lost companionship, and funeral expenses. 

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

When surviving members file a lawsuit against a responsible party at fault for an individual’s death, this is known as a wrongful death lawsuit. In all fifty states, individuals can file a claim against a party deemed liable for a person’s death. A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed when an individual dies due to the negligence of another person or entity. The term “negligence” simply means that the responsible party did not use reasonable care and, as a result, caused the death of another. Negligence can occur in many different ways, but some common examples include drunk driving accidents, defective products, medical malpractice, and workplace accidents.

Negligence can occur in a variety of settings and situations. Individuals may file a wrongful death lawsuit concerning automobile accidents, slip and fall incidents, medical malpractice, workplace accidents, defective products, and dangerous drugs. 

Who Is Eligible to File?

The people eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit differ from state to state. We advise consulting a seasoned attorney regarding the specifics of your claim and the laws of your area. However, individuals that may qualify to file a wrongful death lawsuit include: 

  • Immediate family. This pertains to children, spouses, and parents of unmarried children. 
  • Siblings or grandparents in some states, if there are no surviving parents or spouses.
  • Parents of a deceased fetus.
  • In some cases, life partners or those financially dependent on the deceased. 

Who Can Be Held Responsible in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The responsible party whose negligence resulted in someone’s death depends on the nature of the situation. A wrongful death lawsuit needs to demonstrate that the responsible party’s actions caused the death of another. Examples of defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit include: 

  • Driver at fault for a motor vehicle accident 
  • Manufacturer of an unreasonably dangerous medical device 
  • Drug companies that designed a hazardous drug 
  • A doctor who misdiagnosed a patient or exercised negligent care of a patient
  • A hospital that housed medical malpractice
  • The owner of a premise in which a slip and fall occurred 

Factors in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit 

In order to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the surviving member must exhibit that the person’s death is related to another’s negligence. An experienced attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence to substantiate this claim. Your attorney may collect or request eyewitness testimony, medical records, expert witnesses, receipts, or bills to prove your wrongful death lawsuit. The case must have enough evidence to reasonably support that the negligence or misconduct of another led to the death. Generally, to show that the defendant behaved negligently, the lawsuit must display facts as follows: 

  • The responsible party owed a duty of care to the victim
  • The defendant acted negligently and breached the duty of care
  • The victim’s death resulted in losses for you

Let’s say that a company sells medical devices. In this case, the duty of care applies to the company’s responsibility to distribute safe devices and adequately warn consumers about the potential risks. Yet, if the company manufactures an unreasonably dangerous device or fails to include proper warnings, it breached its duty of care. 

What Compensation Can I Recover?

The amount of damages in a wrongful death lawsuit depends on several elements. Some states limit the total sum that a claimant can receive, while others do not. The types and costs of damages that you can recover also vary from state to state. The courts will factor in economic damages like medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of the deceased’s earnings. Additionally, the awarded compensation will consider pain and suffering, mental anguish, and lost companionship. 

The Lake Law Firm Can Help You

We want to first and foremost extend our condolences for your loss. Before embarking on a wrongful death lawsuit, we recommend you consult and enlist the help of an experienced attorney. An attorney at The Lake Law Firm can help you understand your options and can guide you through the process of filing a claim. We would be honored to assist you during this difficult time.

The Lake Law Firm was founded by Edward J. Lake, Esq., a personal injury lawyer for over 25 years. Our dedicated team of attorneys is committed to seeking justice on behalf of those who have suffered injury or death due to the negligence of others. Our experienced attorneys handle many different types of pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and other defective products. The lawyers in our firm have helped collect millions of dollars for their clients. The Lake Law Firm will advocate for you and your rights. Please contact us for a free confidential case evaluation at (888) 525-3529.