The irresponsible actions of another person can cause an accident that suddenly and unexpectedly harms another. When these accident types cause fatal injuries, a victim’s surviving family members can recover compensation through a wrongful death claim.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a type of civil action that seeks to recover financial compensation for the family members of a deceased person. In most states, only the personal representative of the decedent may file a wrongful death claim, and only if certain criteria are satisfied.
The personal representative of the decedent may file a wrongful death claim for injuries if the decedent would have had a cause of action for a personal injury claim had the injury sustained not result in death.
Damages Recoverable in a Wrongful Death Action
The specific types of damages—and whether or not there is a cap on damages recoverable—may vary slightly on a state-to-state basis. In general, though, family members can recover damages for:
- Medical expenses;
- The deceased’s lost wages and benefits;
- Emotional suffering;
- Loss of companionship and guidance; and
- Funeral and burial expenses.
Do I Have a Cause of Action?
A wrongful death action may only be pursued in the event that the deceased would not have incurred fatal injuries but for the negligent actions of another party (individual, entity, private business, etc.). During a wrongful death lawsuit, the decedent’s personal representative will have to prove that the at-fault party acted negligently. Types of accidents that may warrant a wrongful death claim include:
- Auto accident;
- Slip and fall accidents;
- Subway accidents;
- Aviation accidents;
- Premises liability accidents;
- Violent crime;
- Bicycle and pedestrian accidents; and
- Harm caused by a defective product or pharmaceutical.
An Experienced Wrongful Death Attorney Can Help You
If you have lost a loved one because of another person’s irresponsible actions, you may be able to recover damages for all economic and noneconomic losses that you have suffered. At Napoli Shkolnik, PLLC, we will review your case to determine whether or not you have a cause of action, as well as the type of damages that you may be entitled to recover. To learn more, contact us today to schedule your first appointment with our wrongful death team.