A fatal accident and wrongful death lawsuit that follows is different from a personal injury claim of an accident victim who has survived. We look at what a wrongful death, who is entitled to file for a claim, and how it differs from a personal injury claim. This guide also examines the kinds of damage that can be claimed and the different types of wrongful death: intentional, negligence, and malpractice.
Understanding Wrongful Death
There are three factors that must be proved in a wrongful death claim. The first is that the death occurred as a result of an intentional or negligent act on the behalf of an individual or persons. Secondly, this negligent or intentional behavior was directly responsible for the death of the victim. Thirdly, damages have occurred due to the wrongful death.
If all the factors can be proved, the perpetrator or their insurance company can be charged a huge amount. They could offer a settlement, which the family of the deceased can accept or they can continue to fight for a bigger claim in court.
Comparing Wrongful Death to Personal Injury Lawsuits
There are many commonalities between wrongful death lawsuits and personal injury lawsuits. For example, in both cases, a claim for lost future earnings can be filed. In the former, the family has lost the income to support the family that the deceased would have been earning were it not for the wrongful death. In the latter, the victim is claiming for themselves losing the ability to earn an income as an outcome of the accident.
Both wrongful death cases and personal injury lawsuits can result in claims being made in court for loss of future income (the deceased or the victim’s, respectively), pain and suffering (prior to death or after the accident, respectively), and medical bills. In a wrongful death hearing, the remaining family members can sue for the loss of the deceased person’s companionship and funeral expenses. A person instituting a personal injury lawsuit can also claim for emotional distress.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Personal injury lawsuits are filed by the victim who survived but experienced harm as a result of the accident. In the case of a wrongful death, the victim cannot file a claim on their own behalf and certain others are permitted to put in a claim. The attorneys will not charge you until the case is settled.
The people who can file charges for wrongful death are legal representatives of the estate of the deceased person, children, parents, or spouses of the deceased, and any immediate family of the deceased who are affected by the wrongful death. Each state has its own statute relating to the persons who are allowed to claim for a wrongful death. The lawsuit is heard in the state where the death occurred.
The Different Types of Wrongful Deaths
There are different types of wrongful deaths. An intentional wrongful death is the tragic outcome of the responsible party’s intentional behavior. This act could be battery, assault, or murder.
Negligence as the grounds for a wrongful death can have a number of causes. The lawsuit must prove that the negligent behavior was as a result of the defendant not exercising the due care that would have been displayed by a reasonable person in the same circumstances. Types of wrongful deaths from negligence include construction accidents, vehicle accidents, animal attacks such as dog bites, products that are flawed, cases of slipping and falling, and a failure to warn the victim of danger or risk.
Malpractice is another cause of wrongful death. When a medical practitioner, such as a doctor, does not deliver the expected standards of care required by their profession and the patient dies, this can result in family of the victim filing a wrongful death lawsuit. The case will require proof that the patient died because of the professional practitioner’s failure to deliver the required standard of care. Malpractice requires a different kind of proof than a lawsuit claiming negligence. In a case of negligence, the defendant failed in their duty of care, whereas in a case of malpractice, the guilty party provided a level of care that was distinctly below the professional standards that have been laid out for medical doctors.
If you need help filing a wrongful death lawsuit, speak to us today. Visit one of our offices at:
- 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
You can also call now for a free consultation on (800) 671-4100.