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What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

When you or a family member is injured or killed in an accident caused by another party, you may have the right to receive compensation for your damages. A personal injury claim alleges that your injuries were caused as the result of negligence, recklessness, or carelessness by the at-fault party. As a result of the party’s actions, you have suffered monetary and non-monetary damages that are compensable in a personal injury lawsuit.

Compensation for damages in a personal injury claim may include reimbursement for medical expenses, lost wages, and other out-of-pocket expenses and compensation for your physical pain and emotional suffering. Depending on the facts and circumstances surrounding your accident and the laws in your state, you may also be entitled to receive punitive damages.

What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

When a person dies as the result of another party’s negligence, the person’s family members may be entitled to receive compensation for this loss. Even though money can never replace the person in your life or ease the grief that you are feeling over this loss, a monetary award can provide much needed financial support for you and for your family.

Wrongful death claims arise out of a variety of fatal accidents and situations including but not limited to:

  • Automobile or other vehicle accidents (including motorcycle and commercial vehicle accidents)
  • Boating accidents
  • Premises liability cases (slip-an-fall accidents)
  • Workplace accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Defective products
  • Pedestrian accidents
  • Bicycle accidents

Wrongful death actions may be filed against individuals, companies, and some government entities; however, the rules and laws may vary depending on the defendant. If a party acted or failed to act in a negligent or intentional manner and that action or failure to act caused the death of another person, the party may be held liable for damages.

Examples of parties that may be liable in a wrongful death claim include:

• A drunk driver who killed another person in an automobile accident
• A truck driver who was speeding and caused an accident resulting in a fatality
• The manufacturer, designer, or distributor of a product that resulted in death when used
• A doctor who failed to diagnose a disease or prescribed the wrong medication
• A property owner who failed to fix a staircase
• An employer who failed to provide safety equipment to an employee

In some cases, a party or government agency may be immune to a wrongful death claim. The parties that may have immunity from wrongful death claims vary state by state.

How do I File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit and do I Need a Personal Injury Attorney?

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is a complex and complicated procedure. Each state has a wrongful death statute that governs wrongful death claims in that specific state. Wrongful death laws vary regarding who can file a wrongful death claim, the damages available for a wrongful death claim, the parties who may be sued for wrongful death, the time limit to file a wrongful death claim, and the elements that the plaintiff must prove to collect damages in a wrongful death claim.

A personal injury attorney with experience handling wrongful death claims in your state is essential if you want to file a wrongful death claim. The attorney understands the various state laws governing wrongful death claims; therefore, he or she knows the evidence that is needed and the experts to use to present a strong and convincing case for wrongful death. Wrongful death law is a very specific type of law that not all personal injury attorneys are qualified to handle.

If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence of another person or party, contact an attorney experienced wrongful death cases in your state to discuss your legal options for gaining justice for your loved one.

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