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Accidents happen, but sometimes they happen because of someone's negligence. And when someone's negligence leads to another person's death, family and loved ones of the deceased person may file what are known as wrongful death lawsuits.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated, and there are several limiting factors when it comes to filing them. So here are five important questions (and answers) regarding wrongful death claims from our archives:
Not just anyone can file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death claims are normally limited to surviving family members, like parents, spouses, and children. Some state statutes also permit domestic partners, grandparents, and brothers and sisters to sue for wrongful death. As a general rule, only those who are financially harmed by a person's death can file a wrongful death claim.
Workers' compensation insurance exists to protect employees in case of injury and stabilize expenses for employers. So for normal workplace injuries, employees are barred from filing a civil lawsuit and must rely on workers' comp coverage to get paid for medical bills and lost wages. But is that true in workplace injuries that result in death?
Wrongful death claims can vary depending on the deceased -- a claim concerning the death of a child will look different from a claim concerning the death of a parent. So what do wrongful death claims concerning mothers look like, and how do they differ?
Wrongful death damages are normally split into two categories: pecuniary, or financial damages like lost wages, medical bills, etc.; and punitive damages to punish a party's bad behavior. Find out how these damages are decided, how to prove them, and whether there are caps on how much you can receive.
Some of the biggest restrictions on wrongful death claims are called statutes of limitation. Every legal case has time limits before which you must file a claim or you forfeit the right to sue. And the statute of limitations on wrongful death claims can be shorter than you think.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be complicated, adding legal strain to an already emotionally stressful time. But an experienced personal injury attorney can help. Contact one in your area -- most are happy to consult with you about your case for free.