Wrongful death takes place when a fatality has been caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another party. A wrongful death lawsuit may only be brought by the executor, or personal representative, of the deceased party’s estate. Any damages awarded from such a case would be payable to the estate and then disbursed as dictated by a last will and testament. If the deceased party did not have a will, then the disbursement would take place at the discretion of a probate judge.
There are four commonalities that must be present in a wrongful death claim: death of a person, financial insecurities of the surviving family which were caused by that death, negligence or intent to cause harm by the accused party and a personal representative appointment for the estate.
There are a number of scenarios in which a wrongful death claim could be filed. The most common causes are automobile accidents, though claims may also arise from workplace accidents, medical malpractice or negligence or criminal actions by another party, just to name a few.
In addition, there are also several types of financial damages that can be awarded from such a case. They include pecuniary loss, punitive damages and survival actions. An attorney can describe these in greater detail and offer guidance regarding possible outcomes depending on your particular situation. One should also be aware that there are set statutes of limitations in a wrongful death claim and that those time limits vary from state-to-state. Prompt action is suggested.