Losing a family member can be the most painful experience. But when it happens in a mishap involving negligence by a third person, things can be agonizing. You will surely want to make sure that the guilty person is punished for the wrongful death of your loved one. However, you shouldn’t stop at that because you deserve to be compensated for the massive loss. Certain family members can file a legal claim for the wrongful death of a loved one in an accident. So it would be worth knowing whether you are legally eligible and how you can go ahead with the claim. Here are some key facts you need to understand before going ahead.
Which family members can sue?
The current wrongful death statutes allow certain family members to sue for the damages related to the loss of a loved one. These include the deceased’s spouse, parents, and representatives for the deceased’s estate. The spouse is the first person who is legally entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. They can also bring a suit on behalf of the minor children of the deceased. If the victim happened to be single, the surviving parents can file a suit. Apart from a spouse, child, or parent, a representative appointed by the probate court can also sue.
What damages can you sue for?
Once you are sure about your eligibility for bringing up a wrongful death suit, you need to know about the compensation value. Essentially, it should include the damages to account for the value of your loved one’s life. Experts at Marshall & Taylor, PLLC recommends that the damages should include both tangible and intangible aspects. Here are the ones you should seek as a part of the compensation claim:
Medical bills for treating the injury caused by the mishap
Lost income opportunity
Physical pain and suffering that your loved one experienced before death
The mental anguish of the victim and the family
Loss of companionship or care for the loved ones
Apart from the financial and emotional damages, you may also want to sue for punitive damages. The objective of punitive damages is simply to punish the guilty person for their reckless and negligent act that led to the death of the victim. It generally happens in the instances of drunk driving, where the driver is responsible for being extremely negligent and harmful.
How do you prove negligence in wrongful death claims?
When it comes to proving negligence in these claims, it is quite similar to that for personal injury claims. If a person fails to exercise a reasonable duty of care towards others, it accounts for negligence. Further, if their negligence causes injury or death, the negligent party is liable for all damages in terms of losses and costs related to the injury or death. When a mishap leads to death, the victim cannot themselves file a lawsuit, so a loved one can do it on their behalf.
As a loved one of the deceased people, you should do everything needed to seek justice and get compensation for your loss. Collaborating with a legal expert is your best bet because they know how things work in the court and what needs to be done to get you a rightful claim.