How is wrongful death defined in terms of the law? Would your case be considered a wrongful death? Here is how you can decide to go further with your lawsuit as a plaintiff.



What is wrongful death?


A death is considered a wrongful death when someone died because of another person's negligence and misconduct.


Would a wrongful death be considered a criminal or civil case?


In some cases where a fatality occurs, it may be considered for criminal prosecution. However, a wrongful death lawsuit is, generally, a civil case that stays away from levying any criminal charges. Therefore, the standard of proof may be lower in any civil case compared to a criminal lawsuit.


What is covered under a wrongful death lawsuit?


A wrongful death lawsuit doesn’t only extend to car accidents where one person dies due to the careless driving of another person. It also extends to medical malpractices done by doctors or nurses, manufacturing defects by companies, toxic torts, and criminal activity.


A wrongful death lawsuit also depends on the death laws and procedures in the concerned state.


Who acts as a representative in wrongful death lawsuits?


Depending on the statute of different states, anyone related to the eligible survivor in the wrongful death can act as representative and file a lawsuit.


The surviving party that suffered harm from the wrongful death are known as ‘real parties in interest.’


These real parties in interest could be the spouse, children, and parents (if the deceased was unmarried) of the deceased person. These parties have the right to sue the negligent party. In some states, the supposed spouse (common law, fiancée or fiancé) or financial dependents can also act as representatives and sue for damages. Even siblings and grandparents are also allowed to claim for damages in some states.


What kind of damages can be recovered on filing a wrongful death lawsuit?


A representative party filing for a wrongful death lawsuit can recover both economic and non-economic damages caused by the negligent party. The amount recovered can be distributed among all the other family members of the deceased.


The economic damages would constitute the funeral expenses, loss of income expenses, prospective inheritance loss, lost household expenses, and other out-of-the-pocket expenses.


Suppose the wrongful death involves a person who was the only wage earner in the family with children. In that case, the representative also has the right to recover the loss of parental guidance.


How much economic damage can be recovered?


The plaintiff has the right to recover all the lost future earnings by evaluating the deceased's life expectancy. The jury decides this based on the earning of the deceased at the time of death and the potential future earnings the deceased could earn.


What non-economic damages can be recovered?


Non-economic damages refer to the pain and suffering caused by the wrongful death. Non-economic damage can also be recovered starting from the date of death. In some states, a jury may also award the sufferer from punitive damages i.e., punishment charges for causing death due to erroneous conduct and sheer negligence.


For more information on wrongful death and deal with the lawsuit, contact Erjavec Injury Law today.