There is perhaps no worse tragedy than losing a loved one due to injury or accident. The loss is made even greater if the death was due to someone else’s mistake.
Wrongful Death Laws
There was a time when there was no legal option for the survivors of the deceased. Fortunately, all 50 states have enacted wrongful death statutes to deal with these sensitive situations. Wrongful death attorneys deal specifically with these cases and can help family members of the deceased seek legal retribution. Typically, if the claim is won, the deceased’s family will receive some or all of the following compensation:
- Medical and funeral expenses
- Loss of medical benefits
- Loss of inheritance
- Compensation for pain and mental anguish
- General punitive damages.
Defining Wrongful Death
Wrongful death is legally any death that is caused by the fault of another. Drunk driving cases use the wrongful death laws to obtain reparations for the victim’s families. Another example of wrongful death is the manufacturing and distribution of a defective product that causes death. The builders of unstable structures may be liable for wrongful death if the building collapses and kills people. Doctors and other medical professions can be liable for failure to diagnose an obvious disease.
The Role of a Wrongful Death Attorney
If the deceased’s family suspects that someone may be to blame for their loved ones death, they can contact a wrongful death attorney for assistance. The attorney will investigate the circumstances of the possible victim’s death. If there is legal liability found, the wrongful death attorney will help the family file and complaint and begin the legal process. He or she will also handle all of the case matters for the family and seek reimbursement for the victim’s death.
Although the wrongful death attorney can help the family file a claim, they can only work with the information that the family provides. It is absolutely necessary that the surviving family be truthful in their statements to the attorney. Any information that may help the case should be offered when the attorney is conducting his or her investigation of the events.
Filing a Wrongful Death Claim
Each state has different limitations on filing a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations, meaning the time a family has to file a claim, may be as little as six months or as long as two years. It is important for the surviving family member or members to contact a wrongful death attorney immediately if they at all suspect that a person or company is at fault.