Losing a loved one is always difficult, especially if the death was sudden or caused by negligence or a wrongful act. Death can disrupt a family in several ways, and it can be almost impossible to move on without them.
While it may not replace the loss of a loved one or provide enough comfort, state laws allow family members of accident victims to take legal action and sue the responsible parties for damages. This claim is made through a wrongful death lawsuit.
Read on for more details on a wrongful death lawsuit.
Eligibility for a Wrongful Death Claim
Wrongful death lawsuits can be quite complicated because not all accidental deaths lead to a wrongful death claim. There are cases where the defendant could have done nothing to stop the accident. To be eligible for this claim, the deceased family members or estate managers must first prove that the at-fault party was careless and that their negligent actions caused the fatality.
In Columbia, an experienced wrongful death lawyer from Louthian Law Firm can discuss the details of the accident with you and help you prove if you are due for compensation. Family members who can file for this claim include the surviving spouse, parents, children, and heirs. In cases where there is no mentioned kin, the estate executor can file the claim on behalf of other family members.
Damages in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Death can be costly in several different ways, both financially and emotionally. Wrongful death claims cover various compensations to help family members deal with their loss. These claims include the following:
This includes all the expenses the family has incurred to treat the victim before their death. It can cover ambulance costs, surgeries, treatments, and other hospital expenses. It is important to have a clear record and receipts of all the expenses when making this claim.
You have a right to claim for the expenses you incurred to bury your loved one. This includes the mortuary fees, undertaker fees, cost of buying the coffin, burial clothes, flowers, and more.
Loss of Financial Support
If the deceased was a breadwinner of the family or was taking care of their parents, the family could claim the lifetime lost earnings that the deceased could have provided if they had not died.
Loss of Consortium
Also known as loss of companionship, this claim is mostly made by parents, spouses, or minor children who have lost their loved ones. This claim is meant to compensate family members for the tremendous loss.
It is hard to put a price on loss. Often, the court or jury will look at the relationship the deceased had with the plaintiff and their ages. In a case where the kids are very young, the damages can be in the millions.
Family members may have grounds to claim punitive damages, as well. Like in any other lawsuit, there has to be proof that the defendant did not mitigate risks or knowingly caused the accident.
Punitive damages are aimed at punishing the defendant for negligence.
Statute of Limitations
If you have lost a family member due to negligence and you want to sue for damages, you should obtain a lawyer fast because of the statute of limitations. If you wait past the set time according to your state, you may not get compensated for your loss.
Connect with a Lawyer to Handle Your Case
If you have a wrongful death claim, get in touch with a wrongful death lawyer to help you know how to handle your claim and negotiate the compensation on your behalf. They will also represent you should your case go to court.