BankruptcyPursuing Justice for a Loved One: The Basics of Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

May 23, 20230

People are injured all the time and they seek compensation from liable parties to cover medical expenses, loss of earnings, emotional trauma, property damage, and so much more. As long as sufficient evidence is found and the claim is put through within the statute of limitations, there’s a good chance of winning. However, what happens when an accident causes a fatality, and they can’t claim compensation?

What Does Wrongful Death Mean?

Wrongful death is the term given to a fatality caused by negligence, a wrongful act, or some other action of another person. Essentially, it is any incident that would merit a personal injury compensation claim had the person lived.

In place of a personal injury compensation claim, survivors of the deceased are entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit aims to recoup economic losses and other harms caused by the fatality.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Each state defines who is eligible to file a wrongful death lawsuit, and the legislation can become a little confusing. However, as a general guideline, states include the following statements within their rulings:

  • Anyone within the decedent’s estate can sue.
  • Wrongful death lawsuits are reserved for designated survivors only.

In the first instance, a court will appoint a “personal representative” to sue for wrongful death. These individuals act in the best interest and on behalf of survivors. Any compensation won will be paid according to the will.

In the second scenario, close relatives are able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Typically, the decision to sue lands with the closest relation and then trickles down in terms of survivor distance.

What Has to Be Proved in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

To claim compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit, the following must be proved beyond a reasonable doubt that:

  • The defendant was responsible for the death in the eyes of the law.
  • Misconduct by the defendant directly leads to the damages being claimed.
  • You suffered the damages.

Types of Damages Claimed in Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Each wrongful death statute varies when it comes to the types of damages that can be claimed. Some states are extremely detailed and others vaguer, but here are the most prevalent themes:

  • Punitive damages. These damages are additional costs paid by the defendant as a means of punishment.
  • Non-economic damages. Emotional loss suffered by claimants including counsel, protection, and guidance.
  • Economic damages. Funeral expenses, loss of income, and any other monetary expenses relating to the incident.

Payouts and Settlements in Wrongful Death Cases

The majority of wrongful death lawsuits end up settling before going to court. Typically, a lawyer will write a notice of claim and demand letter before negotiating the settlement through insurance companies. During the claims process, you have to be prepared to provide evidence as suggested by the state. Before accepting any payout, make sure your lawyer looks over the settlement.

Wrongful death lawsuits allow survivors to claim damages from the liable party. However, navigating the legal landscape is difficult, which is why you should contact Cadell Reynolds now using the following addresses:

  • Fort Smith – 122 North 11th St., Fort Smith, AW 72901
  • Fayetteville – 509 E Millsap Rd., Suite 102, Fayetteville, AR 72703
  • Rogers – 211 North Second St. Rogers, AR 72756
  • Jonesboro – 3000 Browns Lane, Jonesboro, AR 72401
  • Little Rock – 10809 Executive Center Drive, Suite 111, Little Rock, AR 72211

Call now for a free consultation on (800) 671-4100