Wrongful Death

Wrongful Death

There are few things that impact the life of survivors more than the premature and unexpected death of a loved one.  If you lose a loved one in the line of their chosen profession, it’s hard but not entirely unforeseeable.  But if you lose a loved one unexpectedly and randomly, that can hurt even more.  It’s not supposed to happen, but unfortunately, it does.  It’s especially bad when it is caused by someone else. 

Wrongful death occurs when somebody is killed or loses his/her life because of another person or entity’s negligence or misconduct act. Although there may be a criminal prosecution related to the fatality, a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action that is separate and distinct from any criminal charges.

Nothing can replace the value of a loved one’s life.  Nothing.  The lawyers at The Victoria Law Group do not dare make the claim that we can replace the life of a loved one.  What we can help with is compensation for the value the loss has caused.  If you or a or someone you know is suffering from the loss of a loved one, please reach out to The Victoria Law Group to see if we can help you directly, or refer you to an attorney who can.

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Wrongful death claims are brought forward against a defendant who has caused someone’s death, either through negligence or as a result of some intentional action. Wrongful death claims allow the estate and/or those close to a deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death. Though each state’s wrongful death laws vary, these kinds of lawsuits are usually filed by a representative of the deceased person’s estate, often on behalf of surviving family members who have been affected by the death.

Lawyers are completely prohibited from guaranteeing results as lawsuits are simply too unpredictable. According to statistics, a US Attorney or a US based law firm will receive around $2 billion in jury awards and settlements in wrongful death cases, wherein each and every one of those cases was decided on its unique facts. Each verdict or settlement was the result of years of litigation, with all kinds of battles over legal issues, expert witnesses, and so on, where different judges or courts or juries could have reached different results.

Seemingly minor differences or petite differences, like a photograph from the day of the accident or a handwritten scribble on a medical record, can mean the difference between a million-dollar case and a case with no award at all. That is the opposite propensities of winning or completely losing a wrongful death suit. 

There are multiple components of a wrongful death suit. Let us have it point-wise for a better understanding:

  • The death of a human being; 
  • Death caused by another’s negligence, or with intent to cause severe harm; 
  • The survival of family members who are suffering monetary injury because of death, and; 
  • The appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate.

There are a plethora of advantages of having an attorney for the cause of wrongful death. Few of them can be listed below:

  • He is completely aware of the Legal Process
First of all, if you are going to take the case to court, you need to make sure that you have the right asset to prove your case at your behest. The legal process can get pretty confusing and complicated, and if you don’t have a lawyer at your side, you are more likely to make mistakes as you may be unaware how courts work.

  • He can save your time
Wrongful death cases tend to stretch over a long period of time, and they can be very labor-intensive and mind-boggling. If you attempt to navigate the whole process yourself, it will take a pretty big toll on your schedule and time. It is always better to hire an attorney as he is well vested in the relevant procedures and aware about the process. The legal process is very complicated, and there are a lot of deadlines to consider.

  • He knows the intricacies of your case
If there is one thing that you need to know about wrongful death claims, you need to understand that the compensation awarded can vary dramatically from one case to the next. A wrongful death attorney who has been dealing with such cases in the past knows how to properly value your claim so you can pursue the maximum compensation. He will thoroughly evaluate your condition and build a case that shows how the loss has impacted your family.

  • He Can Provide You the Needed Support
Losing a loved one can take a pretty big toll on your emotional and mental condition. A wrongful death attorney can be a great source of support for you and your grieving family. Not only will he help you build a good case, but he can also make the proceedings less stressful for everyone involved, which can greatly reduce the burden on you and your loved ones.

  • He can aid you in avoiding mistakes
There are many kinds of errors that could harm a wrongful death case. Examples include giving a statement to the opposing party or posting about the fatal accident on social media. Your lawyer can help you avoid these and other errors.

Wrongful death claims are brought forward against a defendant who has caused someone’s death, either through negligence or as a result of some intentional or deliberate or malafide action. Wrongful death claims allow the estate and/or those close to a deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death.

A wrongful death claim is usually filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased victim, on behalf of one of multiple survivors who had a relationship with the victim. Exactly who those survivors are differs from state to state.

In all states, a spouse may bring a wrongful death action on behalf of his or her deceased spouse. Parents of minors may also bring a wrongful death action if one of their children is killed, and minors can collect compensation over the death of a parent. Where states start to disagree is whether parents of adult children can sue, whether adult children can sue for wrongful death of their parents, whether grown siblings can sue for wrongful death, or whether extended relatives like cousins, aunts, uncles, or grandparents can sue. Usually, the more distant the familial relationship is, the harder it will be to get a legal remedy via a wrongful death case.

In some states, the romantic partner of the deceased may bring a wrongful death claim, not every time a relationship of marriage is required per se, as can anyone who can show financial dependence on the deceased.

If your loved one has died or lost his/her life due to the reckless actions or negligence of another party, you do have the recourse to recover damages for psychological and financial harm done to you or a loved one. It may be possible to bring a suit for wrongful death, which is the term used by courts for a death caused by wrongful conduct or negligence.

Here are the kinds of damages you might get if your wrongful death lawsuit is successful:

  • Hospital and medical expenses
  • Funeral and burial costs
  • Loss of inheritance the deceased might have left had they lived
  • Lost comfort, support and guidance from the deceased
  • Loss of love and companionship
  • Estate administration expenses
  • Punitive damages in cases of severe negligence or wrongdoing.
  • Loss of the decedent’s expected income

The damages awarded in a claim depend entirely upon the facts of the case. An experienced wrongful death attorney can review your case and advise you about what damages you might ask for.

This is certainly not an exhaustive list but different kinds of the most common types of wrongful death cases involve any of the following:

  • Car accidents caused by a negligent or drunk driver.
  • Motorcycle accident due to reckless driving.
  • Medical malpractice accidents.
  • Nursing home patient abuse or neglect behaviour. 
  • Product malfunction or product liability.

While some may settle very quickly, even in a matter of months. But this scenario is usually rare.

Other personal injury or wrongful death lawsuits can take an average of one to four years to resolve or to conclude. Even if your case does not go to trial, settling your case takes time.