Grieving family members often have many questions regarding a wrongful death claim after losing a loved one to the negligent actions of an individual or company. While it is always best to consult a wrongful death lawyer to get answers that are specific to the facts in your case, you can find the general answers to several of the most frequently asked questions regarding these claims below.
What Qualifies As A Wrongful Death?
Under the law, a wrongful death is one that is caused by the negligent actions or willful wrongdoing of an individual or company. Generally speaking, if an individual would have been eligible to seek damages under personal injury laws had they survived their injuries, their surviving heirs are then eligible to seek this compensation under wrongful death laws.
Who Is Able To File A Wrongful Death Claim?
Surviving heirs often include spouses, children, and parents of the deceased. However, in some cases, other family members may be eligible to seek compensation under wrongful death laws if they are able to demonstrate that they suffered a financial loss as the result of their loved one's death. For instance, if the deceased was caring for their minor sibling at the time of their death, this sibling may be eligible to file a wrongful death claim.
What Damages Can Be Recovered In A Wrongful Death Claim?
There are two types of damages that a wrongful death lawyer can help you to recover as part of your wrongful death claim. These damages include economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include compensation for medical bills that were accrued as a result of the injuries suffered by the deceased prior to death, funeral expenses, and compensation for the loss of income suffered by the family as a result of their loved one's death. Non-economic damages include damages for subjective losses such as pain and suffering, grief, and loss of companionship.
What If More Than One Heir Is Entitled To Damages?
Often times more than one heir will have a legal right to collect compensation as part of a wrongful death claim. However, the law only allows one claim to be filed on behalf of the deceased. Any damages that are recovered as a result of that claim will then be distributed among the qualifying heirs according to the same laws that govern the distribution of assets when an individual dies without a will. Consulting a wrongful death lawyer can help you to determine which surviving heirs will have a right to collect compensation once your claim is settled.
Contact a wrongful death lawyer for more information.