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Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Contact Us About Wrongful Death

Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney

“Wrongful death” is defined as any death resulting from negligence or misconduct of another person(s), including all degrees of murder. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, you should contact a wrongful death attorney to discuss your options right away.

Is a wrongful death lawsuit handled like a criminal trial?

 A wrongful death lawsuit is not the same as a criminal trial. If a criminal trial does occur, the criminal trial is filed on behalf of the state, and the defendant is tried for breaking some state statute or law. However, a wrongful death lawsuit is filed by a family member, friend or associate of the diseased. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed subsequent to a criminal trial, even if the defendant is found innocent in the criminal trial.

In most cases, the wrongful death lawsuit will follow similar procedures and use the same evidence as the criminal trial. Because the defendant is being tried for damages, rather than a crime, the standard of proof is lower in a wrongful death lawsuit. In a criminal trial, the defendant must be found to be guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the plaintiff must only prove that the defendant was responsible by a preponderance of the evidence.

Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of someone else?

 In order to be eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of another person, you must be considered a personal representative of the decedent’s estate. Defining “personal representative of the decedent’s estate” differs on a state-by-state basis. Each state has a “wrongful death statute” that defines who is considered eligible to file suit. Contact a wrongful death attorney to be sure that you are eligible before beginning the process of filing suit.

Generally, the following are eligible to take on the role of personal representative of the decedent’s estate:

  • Immediate family
  • Surviving spouses, life partner, financial dependents
  • Extended family members
  • Any persons who suffer financially because of the death
  • Parents of the deceased (including deceased fetus)

Eligibility is not limited to this list, and special circumstances can arise in which others are eligible to take on the role. Contact a wrongful death attorney right away if you have any questions regarding eligibility.

How do you prove fault in a wrongful death lawsuit?

In order to prove that the defendant is at fault, a wrongful death attorney must prove that:

  • A human death in fact occurred.
  • This death was caused by the defendant’s negligence, or their intent to cause harm.
  • The personal representative of the decedent’s estate, or anyone eligible to receive part of the decedent’s estate, suffered monetary loss as a result of said death.
  • There was an appointment of a personal representative for the decedent’s estate.

What type of incident is considered a wrongful death?

Again, a wrongful death is considered an incident in which a person’s death results from negligence or misconduct by another person. There is a wide array of incidents which could fall under the definition of wrongful death.

Some of the more common include:

  • Personal injury – any incident that may fall under the umbrella of a personal injury claim
  • Car accidents or other automobile accidents
  • Medical malpractice
  • Occupational accident or exposure to hazardous workplace
  • Criminal behavior
  • Death during a supervised activity

Damages awards in a wrongful death lawsuit

 There are three types of damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit:

  1. Economic damages – the total value of financial contributions the victim would have made to the estate-holders if he had not have died. Also, any costs associated with the death, such as funeral expenses.
  2. Non-economic damages – non-tangible losses suffered by estate holders, such as emotional distress, pain & suffering, loss of care, loss of consortium.
  3. Punitive damages – additional damages to punish the defendant for their negligent or aggravated actions.

How can I file a wrongful death lawsuit?

 If you believe that you have a case and want to hire a wrongful death attorney, please contact our law firm. TorHoerman Law offers no-obligation free consultation for any potential wrongful death lawsuit. Do not wait to take action; a wrongful death lawsuit requires time-sensitive information – there are strict statutes of limitation in most states. We will help you get the compensation that you deserve for the death of your loved one.

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