posted in Personal Injury on April 09, 2021
Losing a loved one due to the negligence of another party can cause an immense amount of emotional anguish in addition to the financial drain that comes from losing a family member: the loss of that individual’s income and the services and that individual performs for the family. A wrongful death claim cannot bring back your loved one, but it can reduce some of that financial strain and give you the funds you need to rebuild your life after that loss.
How does a wrongful death claim work?
In most cases, the individuals with the closest family relationship to the deceased have the right to file a wrongful death claim. Generally, this includes:
You can file only one wrongful death claim per family, even when more than one person may have the same right to file a claim for a deceased individual. For example, if a deceased individual with no spouse, but multiple children, dies due to the negligence of another party, each child will have the same right to file a claim, and the surviving family will need to work together to determine how to distribute those funds.
In order to have grounds to file a wrongful death claim, your loved one must have died due to the negligence of another party. Generally, if your loved one would have had the right to file a personal injury claim if he had lived, the surviving family will have the right to file a wrongful death claim after his death.
To file a wrongful death claim, you will need to work with an attorney to identify the party or parties that caused the death of your loved one. Generally, the liable party in a wrongful death claim:
For example, if your loved one died in a car accident, you might establish that the liable driver was texting on his cell phone at the time of the accident. That individual violated his duty of care to your loved one and to others on the road by texting and driving instead of driving safely, with attention on the road. If your loved one died in a construction site accident, the company managing that site, or the subcontractor that committed the error that resulted in your loved one’s death, might bear liability for your loved one’s death. An attorney can help go over the conditions that led to your loved one’s accident and give you a better idea of who might bear or share liability for your injuries. Sometimes, the attorney might identify more than one party that shares liability for the accident, which may increase the compensation you can receive for your losses.
Once you have established that you have grounds for a wrongful death claim, based on your relationship to your loved one and the circumstances that caused your loved one’s death, your attorney will investigate the claim. The attorney will look at any evidence from the scene of the accident, including witness testimonies or video footage, if relevant, to help determine what factors contributed to your loved one’s death. The attorney may also want to look into the party that caused your loved one’s death: for example, if a specific company has caused multiple accidents in the past, it could indicate negligence on the part of the company.
Expect the investigation to take some time, since the attorney will need to look into all the details associated with the loss of your loved one. Your attorney may also ask for evidence about your loved one’s injuries, including hospital bills acquired before your loved one died or any suffering your loved one may have faced.
The compensation you can receive for the loss of a loved one may depend on the insurance policy that covers the liable party. Many entities and individuals carry insurance policies designed to protect both them and victims of negligence. For example, drivers usually carry bodily injury protection and wrongful death insurance, while premises owners usually carry property insurance that includes compensation for bodily injury or death that occurs on the property as a result of negligence on the part of the property owner.
Talk to your lawyer about the financial and non-economic losses you have faced as a result of the loss of your loved one. Those may include:
Your loved one did not necessarily have to die immediately, at the scene of the accident, for you to have grounds to file a wrongful death claim. If your loved one lingered for days or even weeks, you may have substantial medical bills related to those injuries to pay. You can include any medical expenses as part of your wrongful death claim.
In addition to significantly increasing your family’s financial burden, if your loved one lingered, he may have suffered immensely in the aftermath of the accident.
Your loved one’s death may mean that the family loses your loved one’s income, which can cause immense struggle for many families.
In addition to your loved one’s actual income, you will lose the services your loved one usually performed for the family: the loss of childcare, home care, senior care, and other key elements. When you have to hire someone else to perform those services, it can lead to immense financial cost for your family.
Losing your spouse, parent, or child can cause a gaping emotional hole in your life. The loss of these relationships does not have a tangible financial cost. Talk to an attorney about how to include it as part of your personal injury claim.
Did you lose a loved one due to the negligent acts of another party? Contact Gina Corena & Associates today at 702-680-1111 to learn more about how to file a wrongful death claim.
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