Wrongful Death Cases: What is a Wrongful Death?

Generally speaking, a wrongful death is a death incurred by someone’s negligence, such as carelessness, incompetence, or failure to act. Car crashes are the most common cause of wrongful death. Another example of a wrongful death case would be if a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle while crossing the street on their right of way. A wrongful death lawsuit can provide financial assistance and stability to a family after the tragic loss of a relative.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Case?

Each state allows a wrongful death claim to be filed by immediate family members. More specifically, those who were dependent on, or a beneficiary of, such as a next of kin of the deceased including parents, spouses, and children may be entitled to monetary damages. The laws related to wrongful death vary from state to state, so it's important to speak to an attorney to learn about your state's laws and to understand your rights and remedies.

What Meets the Criteria for a Wrongful Death Case?

In order to bring a successful wrongful death claim forward, the following elements must be present:

  • The death of a human being;
  • Caused by another's negligence, or with intent to cause harm;
  • The survival of family members who are suffering monetary injury as a result of the death, and
  • The appointment of a personal representative for the decedent's estate.

What Kind of Compensation is Awarded?

Each state allows the heirs of a family to file a wrongful death lawsuit in the event of another party’s negligence causing the death of a loved one. Factors that courts consider when determining wrongful death damages one may receive include:

  • The amount of money earned by the deceased
  • Loss of companionship
  • The savings of the deceased
  • The degree to which survivors were financially dependent on the deceased
  • Expenses incurred by survivors for medical and funeral costs

Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be one of the most emotionally draining times of your life. When your family member’s death was caused by another party’s negligence or wrongdoing, the grieving process only intensifies. In these instances, you may have the right to file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive the closure and financial compensation to which you and your family are entitled. If you think you may have a wrongful death case, contact one of our experienced wrongful death attorneys at The Cochran Firm by calling 1-800-THE-FIRM.