Everything You Need to Know About Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

document on wrongful death

Losing a loved one will always be painful. However, when someone is responsible for the death of a family member, you do not just move. You want justice.

As a survivor, you can file a lawsuit to seek compensation for damages. Speak to a Long Beach wrongful death attorney to find out if you have a case and what options are available to you.

When Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

There are several incidents when a claim for a wrongful death is applicable. Examples include when a person is killed intentionally, when a person dies due to medical malpractice, or when a person dies after a car accident involving negligence.

The death can be considered to be medical malpractice when a doctor fails to diagnose a condition or if the doctor provided sub-standard care to the patient. However, a wrongful death claim can turn from any personal injury case except death in the workplace. That one is covered by the worker’s compensation system.

How Can You Prove Wrongful Death?

To file a wrongful death lawsuit, you have to have a legally supportable reason. You, the surviving family member as the plaintiff, must prove that the death of your loved one was a deliberate act of the defendant or it was directly caused by recklessness or negligence.

If your claim is based on medical malpractice, for example, you are expected to submit proof that the defendant has a duty of care owed to the victim and that the defendant breached that duty.

Moreover, you also need to establish that you and your family have suffered damages due to the death of your loved one. This includes the cost of medical treatment prior to death, funeral and burial, expected income, loss of inheritance, etc. You may add the expenses of hiring a lawyer to your claim. In addition, emotional damages like loss of love and companionship or loss of care, guidance, and nurturing that the victim would have provided, will be considered as part of the compensation the survivor should receive.

In some states, punitive damages or damage intended to punish the defendant and discourage a similar behavior to prevent another person’s injury or death in the future can be collected.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

You can only file a wrongful death lawsuit if you are the spouse of the victim, child of the victim, parent of the victim, a sibling of the victim, or, in some states, an extended relative of the victim. An extended relative might find it difficult to seek justice from a wrongful death. In some states, a romantic partner (not married) can file a wrongful death lawsuit as long as they can show that they are financially reliant on the victim prior to their loss. A wrongful death attorney will be able to tell you if you can file a lawsuit.

Is There a Statute of Limitation?

lawyer reviewing a lega document

All states have their own statute of limitations. In the state of California, a claim must be filed within two years after the death of a loved one.

If you believe that a loved one died a wrongful death, you should immediately consult an attorney who has the experience and expertise handling wrongful death lawsuits. Your attorney will aid you throughout the entire process so you can grieve and seek justice.

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