The death of a loved one is one of the hardest things a person may face in life. When this death could have been avoided, the pain becomes even more unbearable. Wrongful death refers to a situation when a person dies because of another party’s negligence or recklessness.

A wrongful death lawsuit allows the estate of the deceased to file a legal claim. Once the claim is filed, the estate’s lawyer must to prove that the defendant was legally responsible for their negligent action, which caused the death.

When the lawsuit is successful, it usually results in monetary compensation for the family. The awarded compensation should cover the family's emotional pain and suffering, pre-death medical expenses, and the deceased's funeral costs. In addition, if a spouse or child was financially dependent on the deceased, then they may also file a claim.

Actions that can lead to a wrongful death suit:

  • Negligence - death due to prescription or surgical errors or other types of medical malpractice
  • Reckless negligence - death from a car accident when the other driver was operating a vehicle while intoxicated
  • Intentional action - death as a result of physical assault or an attack with a deadly weapon, like a shooting
  • A death due to a product’s manufacturing or design error

Wrongful death should not be confused with a murder charge. One key difference is that murder cases are heard in criminal court and the state or the federal government brings charges. Wrongful death cases are heard in civil court with charges filed by the family and/or estate of the deceased.

Each state has specific laws on exactly who may bring about a wrongful death suit. With offices all across the country, The Cochran Firm can help guide you through the next steps in a wrongful death lawsuit. Call your local office today.