Can I File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Losing a loved one is difficult for anyone, but when that loss is the result of the negligence of another party, the devastation can be that much more difficult to bear. If you have lost a loved one in an accident that was caused by another party, you may be able to bring a wrongful death claim against that individual or company.

Examples of Wrongful Death Claims

Wrongful death claims can be brought in a wide variety of situations. Two of the most common ones involve work accidents and motor vehicle accidents.

Here are some examples of wrongful death claims:

  • Work Accidents- If a person was killed while on the job, you may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against the responsible party in addition to a workers’ compensation claim. For example, if a company failed to maintain equipment in a refinery and that failure was responsible for an explosion that killed a contract worker, a wrongful death claim may be able to be brought against the company.
  • Motor Vehicle Accidents – If someone was killed in a car accident because another driver ran a red light, a wrongful death claim may be able to be brought against the driver who violated traffic laws. If in this same accident, the vehicle’s air bag was defective and failed to deploy, a product liability claim may also be able to be brought against the manufacturer of the air bag and/or vehicle. It is important to consult with a qualified wrongful death attorney regarding your unique situation as there may be multiple parties responsible for a loved one’s death.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

Laws vary from state to state regarding who is eligible to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased, but wrongful death claims are generally brought by a close family member of the victim. For example, in Texas eligible beneficiaries of a wrongful death claim include spouses, children, and parents of unmarried children. In order to determine if you are eligible to file a wrongful death claim, you should consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney about the circumstances of your case.

What Damages Are Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Claim?

While no amount of money will bring back your loved one, a person filing a wrongful death claim may be able to recover financial compensation for three general types of damages depending on the applicable laws of the state where the lawsuit is filed.

  • Economic Damages – Economic damages include things such as funeral and medical expenses related to the death, loss of the deceased’s future earnings, and loss of the deceased’s future benefits.
  • Non-economic Damages – Non-economic damages are things that have a less tangible value. This includes pain and suffering, mental anguish, loss of inheritance and loss of consortium.
  • Punitive Damages – Punitive damages are sometimes awarded in addition to economic and non-economic damages as a way of punishing the liable party for willful or grossly negligent acts.

Consulting with a Wrongful Death Attorney

If you have lost a loved one in an accident and are not sure if you are able to file a wrongful death claim, you should consult with a qualified attorney as soon as possible as the amount of time you have to file a claim varies depending on the state. At Arnold & Itkin, our attorneys will provide you with a free consultation to help you determine your legal options. Contact our wrongful death attorneys today to learn how we can help you.

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