Death is never easy, but when a loved one departs this earth too soon due to the actions and negligence of someone else—or someone’s intentional act—it makes the wound that’s left behind even harder to heal. If someone you love lost their life because of someone else’s mistake, you may have grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. Claims of wrongful death can be levied even in the presence of criminal charges against the at-fault party, and awards for wrongful death can be given even if the person charged with a crime is ultimately acquitted. SMT Legal knows that this is a horrible time in your life, and you’re likely angry, devastated, and dealing with untold grief. We’re here to help from the legal side, ensuring that the person who is responsible for your loved one’s death is held to account financially.
What is a Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death is a death that occurs due to the negligence or intentional act of another person. Some scenarios of wrongful death include:
- A person is killed when a drunk driver collides with their car
- A patient dies due to a surgical error
- A pedestrian is hit by a car at a legal crosswalk
- A slip and fall accident in a store causes the ultimate death of a shopper
- A person is shot in a robbery
- A worker falls from scaffolding and dies
What Damages Can Be Recouped in a Wrongful Death Suit?
A wrongful death suit seeks to compensate families and survivors for the financial loss of a loved one as well as non-economic losses that occur as a result of the death. This may include replacement of wages for the remainder of the decedent’s natural life, and it may also include payment for pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of consortium and other non-economic damages families suffer when their loved one is taken too soon. In the case of a malicious or wanton death, a judge may also order punitive damages to be paid in order to punish the person who caused the death and deter future actions by that person and others.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
It is generally the spouse of the decedent who files a wrongful death claim. The decedent’s children and other survivors may also file. In certain instances, the parents of the deceased may be the only party who can file the claim (if the deceased is unmarried and has no descendants).