Wrongful death is a legal term that refers to situations when a person dies due to the negligence of another, which must be proved in court. Wrongful death cases might arise as a result of many types of incidents, including car accidents, workplace accidents, and medical malpractice.
The deceased person’s surviving relatives might bring a wrongful death lawsuit which seeks monetary damages to compensate for the loss of their loved one. Family members are also likely to levy additional claims, depending on the circumstances, for reasons such as loss of companionship.
What Types Of Injuries Can Result In A Wrongful Death?
A catastrophic injury is usually defined as one which involves brain damage, neck or spinal cord damage, amputations, severe burns, or other permanent injuries which can lead to death. A wrongful death case can be based on injuries caused by many types of accidents, such as:
- Auto Accidents – Every year, over 300,000 lives are lost because of auto accidents, while countless others face long recoveries. After these accidents, injured drivers, passengers, and their families struggle with medical bills and lower household income.
- Workplace Accidents – Employers have a legal responsibility to make sure their employees are safe while they are working, as explained and enforced by OSHA.
- Medical Malpractice – Most doctors and nurses are great at their jobs, although accidents can still sometimes occur. If a doctor or nurse cuts corners, or they fail to follow proper procedures, people could die as a result of their negligence.
- Defective Products – Most manufacturers ensure the products that they sell are safe for the public to use, but when they do fail to maintain this safety and people are killed, manufacturers should be held responsible.
Things You Are Entitled To After A Wrongful Death:
Victims of wrongful death are entitled to financial compensation for their past and future medical and property expenses, monetary losses, associated costs related to the accident, as well as damages for pain and suffering. After the plaintiff has proven the defendant’s legal liability, he or she must establish the type and amount of damages.
In some jurisdictions, the plaintiffs may be able to recover the costs of the deceased’s medical care, funeral expenses, loss of future earnings, the value of the loss of the deceased’s pension benefits or medical and health insurance coverage, loss of consortium and general damages. Additionally, the plaintiffs may be able to recover damages for their own pain and suffering or mental anguish, and may also be able to recover punitive damages. Punitive damages may not be available in all jurisdictions, and this availability would be decided by the judge or jury based upon the case.
In some states, wrongful death statutes entitle the decedent’s next of kin to bring a cause of action on their own behalf as a result of damages sustained following the decedent’s death. Other state laws allow family members to bring a wrongful death claim on the decedent’s behalf. These survival acts can preserve the rights of the decedent at the moment of his or her death, which allows survivors to bring a claim based on the decedent’s rights, which includes damages from the actual death itself. Louisiana recognizes both types of lawsuits, but there is a provision that limits the right of the survivors in order to prevent two identical claims on the same incident.
What Should You Do If A Loved One Is Involved In A Wrongful Death?
Most wrongful death actions are based on tort theory. Often, it is not necessary that the defendant’s conduct be the sole cause of the death. Even where the defendant’s negligence contributes, with other circumstances, to the decedent’s death, the defendant may be held legally liable and responsible for damages.
Each jurisdiction may have its own statutes regarding wrongful death personal injury claims, and those rules may differ from state to state. For this reason, it is important to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney in Louisiana or Texas who has experience with wrongful death lawsuits to understand more about the laws in your jurisdiction.
Our goal is to make sure that the survivor and beneficiaries of the victim are compensated for their loss. We are dedicated to the representation of catastrophically injured individuals and their families. Call experienced wrongful death attorney Cole Sartin today for a free consultation on your important legal matters.
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