Nothing can prepare you for the death of a loved one. Even though death is an inevitable part of life, it is a challenging event for anyone to cope with. This is especially certain for those who are lost far too soon due to a sudden and unexpected accident. Dealing with loss on its own is difficult; however, addressing the losses and damages resulting from a death caused by the negligence of another can be complex, emotional and confusing.
What is a wrongful death action?
A wrongful death suit is available for surviving family members that believe that their loved one died as a result of the negligence or misconduct of another. This civil action seeks to hold this at-fault party liable regardless of if they are criminally charged for their death or being held criminally liable for it. In other words, someone can be held liable for the wrongful death of an individual without facing criminal charges.
Various situations could give rise to this action. This could include an automobile crash, occupational accident or exposure to hazardous conditions or substances in the work environment, medical malpractice, criminal behavior or when a death occurred during a supervised activity.
In order to be successful with this action, four elements must be met:
- First, there must be a death of a person.
- Next, the death must have been caused by the negligence of another or with the intent to cause harm.
- Third, surviving family members must have suffered financial injury as the result of the death.
- Finally, a personal representative for the decedent’s estate must be appointed.
When seeking pecuniary damages, which are financial losses caused by the death, surviving family members can prove a wide range of losses experienced. This can include the loss of income, loss of companionship, lost prospect of inheritance, medical expenses and funeral costs.
Filing a wrongful death action can feel like an overwhelming experience, especially for those finding it difficult to digest the matter and cope with the loss. However, this civil action could help one move forward because it can answer questions, hole a negligent party liable and assist with financial losses caused by the death of a loved one.