The simplest way to define wrongful death is when a person’s negligence or intentional acts cause the death of another. There are laws in place to provide a civil avenue for those suffering the loss of a loved one in such situations. Every state has varying statutes on wrongful death claims, including how long after the death a survivor can file a claim, who can file a claim, and what type of damages can be awarded.
Types of Incidents That May Qualify as Wrongful Death
While wrongful death can be very broad, it doesn’t cover just any type of incident that causes the death of another. The negligent or reckless behavior of another must have led to the tragedy. This can include a variety of incidents, with some incidents being much more obvious than others.
For example, the following could qualify as wrongful death claims:
- Car accidents caused by drunk driving, texting, or other issues
- Workplace incidents caused by lack of training or supervision
- Assault, attacks, or other criminal actions that led to the death of another
- Malpractice by a doctor who failed to identify or treat an ailment correctly
- Drowning accidents due to property damage / premises liability
- Defective products or drugs that caused the user to suffer death
Depending on the specifics of your case, your loved one’s death may qualify as a wrongful death. It is important that you discuss the accident with a caring attorney from Arnold & Itkin who can guide you through this process.
People that Qualify to File a Claim
Even if an accident qualifies as an incident of wrongful death it doesn’t mean that you qualify to file a claim. Only certain individuals can bring forward a wrongful death claim to recover damages for the loss of their loved one. Survivors can include a number of different people depending on the laws of the state.
In most cases, it includes the following individuals:
- Spouses or life partners
- Any other dependents
Children and spouses are given the primary right to file a wrongful death claim. This means a parent, sibling, or other relative will likely not be able to file a claim if children or a spouse is pursuing one, as immediate family members are typically considered the primary dependents of an individual.
Evidence that Qualifies a Wrongful Death Suit
In order to bring a suit forward, you must have substantial evidence. In wrongful death cases, there are some key elements involved that can help you prove the validity of your claim. This includes the fact that the responsible party owed your loved one a duty of care, breached that duty of care, and as a result, caused their death. In cases involving criminal actions, intent will likely need to be proven or demonstrated. This can require extensive evidence, witness testimony, expert opinions, thorough legal investigation, and much more.
The wrongful death lawyers at Arnold & Itkin are here to help you determine if you have a wrongful death case. Start by reaching out to our firm at (888) 493-1629.