Wrongful Death Lawyer
Wrongful death is a devastating event that can leave family and friends feeling lost and confused. Deaths caused by another party’s negligent or reckless actions can often be classified as wrongful deaths.
Many times, these situations result in a civil lawsuit to provide compensation for the victim’s loved ones. Determining whether the victim’s death was wrongful can be complicated, and several factors must be considered.
The personal injury attorneys at Injury Lawyer Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, are legal advocates for surviving family members who experienced the unexpected death of a loved one through someone else’s neglect or intentional action.
Contact our us today to schedule a free consultation and free case evaluation for immediate legal advice. All confidential or sensitive information you share with our legal counsel remains private through an attorney-client relationship.
The Legal Definition of Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is a legal term referring to an accidental death caused by the negligence or misconduct of another person or company. Under civil tort law, surviving family members can bring a wrongful death claim against the person or company responsible for their loved one’s death.
The most common type of wrongful death case happens when someone is killed due to a car accident, but other types of cases can also be considered wrongful deaths, such as when someone dies as a result of medical malpractice or from a defective product.
To bring a successful wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant’s actions (or lack of action) were the cause of the decedent’s death and that the death resulted in damages such as medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering.
Is Wrongful Death a Crime?
Wrongful death is a civil action that allows the surviving family members to recover compensation for their loss.
However, wrongful death may be classified as a criminal offense in some cases. For example, if a person is killed due to a car accident caused by another driver’s negligence, the driver may be charged with vehicular manslaughter or even murder.
What Are Wrongful Death Actions or Claims?
Wrongful death actions or claims are lawsuits brought by the family of a person who has died as a result of the negligence or recklessness of another party. Wrongful death claims can arise from various situations, including medical malpractice, car accidents, and workplace accidents.
Civil tort law provides opportunities for immediate family members to hold responsible parties financially liable for causing their loved one’s untimely death through legal action. Potential plaintiffs in a wrongful death court case include:
- The deceased’s estate
- Surviving spouse
- Children and grandchildren
- Parents and grandparents
In some states, the deceased person’s siblings can also file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for the fatal accident or incident.
Only the personal representative or executor of the deceased’s estate can make any legal decisions and have the right to file wrongful death claims. The judge will appoint one if there is no designated executor or personal representative. The personal representative is also responsible for distributing the financial award or compensation amongst eligible family members.
Can Damages Be Recovered in A Wrongful Death Claim?
The damages recovered in a wrongful death claim depending on each case’s specific facts, evidence, and circumstances. However, some of the most common types of damages that are awarded in wrongful death claims include:
- Medical expenses before the victim died
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of income and benefits
- Loss of emotional support, companionship, or love
- Pain and suffering
- Mental anguish
- Punitive damages
Punitive damages may also be available in some cases, but they are typically only awarded when the defendant’s actions were reckless or egregious.
What Is the Statute of Limitations For Filing A Wrongful Death Claim?
The statute of limitations is the deadline by which a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed. In most states, the limitation period for filing a wrongful death claim is two years from the date of death. However, there are some exceptions to this rule, and it is essential to consult with an experienced wrongful death lawyer to ensure your claim is filed promptly.
However, there are exceptions to this general rule. For example, if the death was caused by medical negligence, the limitation period may be extended to four years from the date of the decedent’s death.
If you have lost a loved one due to the negligence or recklessness of another party, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and be entitled to recover compensation. The experienced personal injury lawyers at Injury Lawyer Team, sponsored by Rosenfeld Law Offices, can help you understand your legal rights and options. Contact us today for a free consultation.
The Four Elements of Resolving A Wrongful Death Case
Several elements must be present for a wrongful death case to be successful, with the most important being that the death resulted from a wrongful act or omission of the defendant.
The defendant caused the death through negligence, recklessness, or other wrongdoing. In addition, the deceased person’s family must prove that they suffered damages due to the death.
Proving the four elements of civil tort law include:
- The defendant (person at fault for causing the death) had a duty of care to the victim to ensure their safety from foreseeable risks
- The defendant breached their duty of care to the victim
- The breach of duty was a direct and proximate cause of the victim’s death
- The surviving members of the family suffered damages due to the victim’s death
What Happens After a Wrongful Death Deposition?
When a wrongful death deposition is complete, the next step is to file a lawsuit by submitting a formal complaint to the court and asking for a hearing. Once the lawsuit is filed, the parties will begin to prepare for trial.
This process can take many months or even years. During this time, both sides will collect evidence and interview witnesses.
Both sides will also argue about what should be included in the trial. If the case goes to trial, the family members will have to testify about the death of their loved one. Testifying can be difficult, but ensuring that the responsible party is held accountable is essential.
The members of the family may also receive a financial award if they win their wrongful death lawsuit. This money can help them to ease the financial burden, cope with their loss and move on with their lives.
Different Types of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
When a person’s death can be attributed to someone else’s negligence, malicious act, or recklessness, the surviving family members may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of lawsuit allows the family to seek justice for their loved one and recover damages they suffered from the death.
Different types of wrongful death lawsuits can be filed, depending on the circumstances surrounding the death. Here are the different kinds of wrongful death lawsuits:
- Car accidents
- Truck crashes
- Motorcycle wrecks
- Premises liability
- Slip and falls
- Pedestrian accidents
- Dog attacks
- Violent assaults
- Defective medical devices
- Nursing home abuse
- Bad drugs
- Accidental drowning
- Construction accidents
- Workplace injuries
- Sexual abuse
- Medical malpractice
The Difference Between Medical Malpractice and Wrongful Death
Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a doctor or other healthcare professional that harms a patient. Wrongful death is a legal claim through a civil lawsuit that the victim’s surviving family members may file after someone dies because of another person’s negligence.
- Medical negligence or malpractice occurs when a doctor or healthcare professional does not meet the standard of care expected for their profession, and this causes injury or death to the patient.
- Wrongful death is a specific type of personal injury case that the victim’s surviving family members can bring after a loved one dies due to another person’s negligence. Causes of wrongful death include any car accident involving a faulty roadway or drunk driver, workplace accidents, and slip-and-fall accidents, among other things.
When someone dies as a result of the negligence or malpractice of medical professionals, the surviving members of the family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit to recover compensation for their loss. This compensation can cover the deceased person’s medical bills, funeral expenses, and pain and suffering.
In some wrongful death cases, it may also be possible to recover damages for the loss of income the victim would have earned had they lived.
The Average Settlement for Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The average settlement for wrongful death lawsuits varies depending on the state where the case is filed. However, on average, the settlements for these personal injury cases tend to be excessive.
The National Center for State Courts reports that the median settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit is $1 million. This number reflects cases where there was only one plaintiff. When there are multiple plaintiffs, the average settlement tends to be higher.
Specific factors will help determine the compensation amount, including:
- Age of the victim
- Future earning potential of the victim
- Medical bills related to the victim’s final illness or injury
- The insurance policy limits for wrongful death cases can be very high, depending on the insurance
Many companies have a $1 million per policy limit, and the insurance company may only be willing to pay up to a million dollars in damages for a particular case. If the damages exceed this limit, the company may not be willing to pay additional compensation.
Will I Need to Pay Taxes On My Wrongful Death Settlement?
Our personal injury lawyers can help you understand wrongful death settlements and whether or not you will have to pay taxes on the compensation you receive.
Generally, the settlement is not taxable if you receive a payment for physical injuries. However, the compensation might be taxable if the settlement is for emotional damages only. If you are unsure whether your settlement is taxable, ask a tax lawyer for clarification.
Who Pays to Settle A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
The answer to this question depends on the particular situation. In some cases, insurance companies for the party responsible for the wrongful death will pay to settle the lawsuit. In other cases, the defendant’s estate may be responsible for paying to settle the lawsuit.
Fortunately, our wrongful death attorneys accept cases on a contingency fee basis. This agreement ensures that the defendant’s estate or insurance coverage will pay the plaintiff’s legal fees once our wrongful death lawyers settle the claim or win the case at trial.
Wrongful Death Cases and Other Personal Injury Cases
In most cases, the capacity of the decedent to bring a personal injury claim had they survived the deadly event is required for a wrongful death claim. In other words, the court would not have denied the decedent’s estate a declaratory judgment to establish whether or how much compensation they are entitled to under the insurance policy terms.
Some examples include:
- Car accidents – The estate or surviving families of an accident victim killed due to another driver’s negligence are entitled to recover damages. If the victim had survived, they could have filed a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault driver.
- Medical malpractice – If the patient had survived the negligence or malpractice that led to their demise, they could have brought a medical malpractice claim against the doctor or hospital.
- Product liability – A worker killed on the job due to a defective product. If the worker had survived, they could have brought a product liability claim against the manufacturer of the defective product.
- Murder and manslaughter – Physical assault leading to the victim’s loss of life creates opportunities to seek compensation for damages. If the victim had survived, they could have brought an assault and battery claim against their attacker.
- Negligence – If a nursing home staff member fails to follow established protocol, leading to the resident’s death, they may be liable. The medical professional’s error must have been the cause of death, and if the resident had survived, they could have brought a negligence claim.
In some cases, it may be possible for a decedent’s estate to bring a wrongful death claim called “bystander suits.”
A Wrongful Death Case Involving Worker’s Compensation Benefits
In many wrongful death cases, the deceased person’s surviving family members can recover compensation from the responsible party, including wrongful death cases involving worker’s compensation benefits.
If wrongful death occurs due to an accident or exposure at work, the family can file a claim for the worker’s comp benefits that the deceased person would have received if they had survived.
Expected benefits through the worker’s compensation program for the decedent’s family could include:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- A percentage of the deceased person’s lost wages
- Medical bills related to the accident or exposure
In some cases, the family may also be able to file a civil lawsuit against the responsible party in addition to the worker’s compensation claim, and this is usually only possible if gross negligence or intentional harm is involved.
This process can be complex, so working with an experienced wrongful death lawyer is essential to ensure that the family gets all the benefits.
Wrongful Death Lawsuit FAQs
Our personal injury attorneys understand that many families have unanswered questions about filing a wrongful death suit and dealing directly with insurance companies to receive compensation for damages. A lawyer from our Injury Legal Team has answered some of those questions below.
Contact us for additional information and answers, or schedule a free consultation to discuss your case.
What Is an Example of Wrongful Death?
The family of a person killed due to someone’s carelessness or mistake may be eligible for compensation. A wrongful death lawsuit filed on behalf of the decedent’s survivors can include damages for pain and suffering, loss of companionship, or financial contributions the deceased would have made to the family.
How Do I Know If I Have A Wrongful Death Case?
If your loved one died due to another person’s negligence or recklessness, you might have a wrongful death claim. Common causes of wrongful death include motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, and workplace accidents.
An experienced wrongful death attorney can review the facts of your case and help you determine whether you have a claim.
What Is the Statute Of Limitations For Filing A Wrongful Death Lawsuit In My State?
The statute of limitations is the deadline for filing a lawsuit, and each state has a particular limitation period for wrongful death cases. In some states, the deadline is as short as one year from the date of death. In other states, the deadline is two or three years.
The length of time it takes to resolve a wrongful death case must be considered and depends on many factors, including the jurisdiction in which the claim is filed, the number of damages at issue, and the availability of witnesses. Some cases are resolved relatively quickly, while others may take several years.
An experienced wrongful death attorney can give you a better idea of how long your case will likely take. It is essential to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible to ensure that your claim is filed before the limitation period expires. Contact us today for a free case evaluation.
What Damages Can I Recover in A Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If you are successful in your wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to recover compensatory damages for harms such as medical bills, funeral expenses, and lost income. You may also be able to recover punitive damages, which are designed to punish the defendant for particularly egregious misconduct.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
In most states, only certain family members of the deceased person have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit, such as the deceased’s surviving spouse, children, and parents. In some states, extended family members such as siblings or grandparents may also be able to file a claim.
What Should I Do If I Am Contacted by An Insurance Company Concerning My Wrongful Death Claim?
It is of utmost importance not to allow the insurance company pressure you into accepting an offer before consulting with your attorney.
If an insurance company contacts you, you should not provide a statement or sign any documents without first consulting with a wrongful death lawyer. Insurance companies could use your statements against you to reduce or deny your claim.
Our wrongful death attorneys can protect your rights and help you deal with insurance companies so that you can focus on grieving the loss of your loved one.
How Can a Wrongful Death Attorney Help Resolve My Compensation Claim After My Loved One Died From Someone’s Negligence?
If you have lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence, an experienced wrongful death lawyer can help you file a lawsuit and recover the compensation you deserve for your damages.
The attorney can review the facts of your case and help you determine whether you have a claim. They will also be able to advise you of your state’s limitation period and any damages you may be able to recover. An attorney can also help you deal with insurance companies so that you can focus on grieving the loss of your loved one.
Typically, a wrongful death lawyer will gather evidence, such as police reports, medical records, and eyewitness testimony to build your case. They will also interview experts, such as accident reconstructionists, to determine how the accident happened and who was at fault.
Contact an experienced wrongful death attorney today to discuss your case if you have lost a loved one in an accident.
Hire Experienced Personal Injury Lawyers to Resolve Your Wrongful Death Suit
Did your loved one lose their life through the intentional or negligent acts of another? Did you suffer the loss of a family member due to an accident? Are you ready to take wrongful death action against those responsible for your loved one’s death?
Our wrongful death lawyers understand the devastation a family experiences when they lose a member through the carelessness of another. We want to help you file a successful wrongful death claim to obtain the maximum financial compensation for your damages.
Our personal injury attorneys are available 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, to answer any questions you might have about your legal rights and options. Our wrongful death lawyers represent clients on a contingency fee basis, meaning that you will not owe us anything unless we recover compensation in your case.
Contact us today to schedule a free case evaluation with one of our experienced lawyers.