Basics of a Wrongful Death Civil Case

Death comes for everyone eventually. When someone dies due to negligence or at the hands of another intending to do harm, the victim’s family may pursue justice through a wrongful death civil case. Here are some of the basics of a wrong death case.

1.       These cases may only be brought by the victim’s family or a personal representative of the deceased person’s estate.

2.       The plaintiff must prove that their loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence or with intent to do harm. Though someone doesn’t have to be convicted of a crime to be sued for wrongful death, there may be a criminal element attached to the case. For example, former NFL star O.J. Simpson was exonerated in a criminal murder case, but was found liable for the deaths of his ex-wife and her friend in a civil case.

3.       The claimant must prove that the death resulted in monetary injury. For example, a woman who loses her husband in a work-related accident may sue for wrongful death and claim that her husband’s untimely death resulted in lost future income.

4.       Once a court determines that a wrongful death occurred, a jury will consider damages. The damages may include the medical costs incurred before a death and the cost of a funeral as well as pecuniary loss. Pecuniary loss is related to the deceased’s earning potential and age at death as well as other considerations.

5.       The Court can adjust the amount a jury awards.

6.       In some cases, a jury will also consider punitive damages. These are damages designed to punish the wrong doer or the negligent. Not all states allow the awarding of punitive damages in wrongful death civil suits. Your personal injury lawyer in Sarasota can explain Florida’s rules in more detail.

A wrongful death civil suit can be a traumatic and difficult situation, as plaintiffs are generally grieving the unexpected and sudden death of a loved one. However, if you have a loved one who died due to the negligence of another person or organization, you shouldn’t delay speaking with a Sarasota injury attorney.