Wrongful Death Law: Key Questions

Wrongful Death Law: Key Questions

Wrongful Death Law: Key Questions

15 June 2023
, Blog

Losing a loved one is always painful but even more so when the deceased person died because of someone else's negligence. These types of death are so unacceptable that the law allows the loved one's survivors to pursue compensation in civil court by filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The following article answers several key questions regarding this important legal issue.

Who May Sue for Wrongful Death?

States laws differ on who can file a wrongful death lawsuit. In many states, the law allows only a designated beneficiary to file a wrongful death claim. Designated beneficiaries are typically close relatives, such as spouses, and children. Under this system, the closest relatives take priority while other relatives are further back in line. In some instances, a domestic partner or financial dependent may have the right to file if there are no other eligible claimants with priority. A key point to note is that only one wrongful death lawsuit may be filed in the same case.

A minority of states use a different system, called loss-to-estate. Under this concept, the lawsuit is filed by a personal representative or executor of the deceased person's estate. The executor files the lawsuit, but any damages awarded are held in trust for the decedent's heirs.

What Are Pecuniary Losses?

A pecuniary loss is a financial loss. Claimants filing wrongful death lawsuits have the right to recover financial losses that they incurred due to the death of the deceased. For instance, you can recover any medical expenses related to your loved one's care after they were injured or harmed by the defendant. You can also receive all reasonable funeral and burial costs.

The decedent in a wrongful death case often provides financial support for various dependents. The dependents have the right to be compensated for the loss of income they have suffered and will suffer in the future due to the decedent's death. For example, a jury can estimate how much income the deceased might have made in the future and offer compensation for that lost financial support.

What if the Deceased Was not Employed?

The decedent does not need to have been gainfully employed for the plaintiffs in a wrongful death case to recover financial damages. For instance, if a deceased mother was not employed outside the home, the jury can take into consideration the economic value the mother provided to her family by taking care of them and keeping house.

To learn more about wrongful death lawsuits, contact a personal injury attorney in your city.

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Personal Injury Law and You

In a personal injury claim, as with any other legal procedure, the best weapon you can have on your side is knowledge. Working with an experienced attorney is a good start, but you may not even know if your case is worth pursuing. This blog is for those people who are considering a personal injury claim for the first time, or who are already in the middle of their claim. We've scoured the net and compared several sources to provide you with accurate, reliable information that can apply to any personal injury case. We hope you find our blog useful for navigating your personal injury claim and getting compensation for your injury.