A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed against an individual or an enterprise that is believed to be the cause of an untimely death. In order to be found legally at fault for the death it must be proven that the accused acted deliberately or failed to take reasonable measures to prevent the death from occurring.
If a surviving relative seeks to file a wrongful death complaint he must do so through a representative. Survivors are known as “real parties in interest,” and are commonly represented by the executor of the victim’s estate. State law determines who exactly may be deemed as a real party in interest, but as a rule he must be a close family member who was being supported by the decedent. Other relatives are sometimes recognized as beneficiaries, particularly if they have taken on the responsibility of raising any children left behind as a result of the death.
There may be more than one defendant in the same wrongful death lawsuit. The circumstances surrounding a fatal traffic accident for instance, could involve the negligence of the other driver, the bartender who served alcohol to the driver if he was under the influence at the time of the accident, and the state for lack of proper maintenance and safety conditions of the roadway.
Damages that may be sought in any wrongful death case are classified as “economic,” “non-economic,” or “punitive.” Medical expenses incurred while efforts were made to save the life of the victim are seen as benefits that would otherwise have gone to the plaintiff and are considered as an economic loss.
An example of a non-economic loss might be the grief and mental suffering that the survivors have gone through that was brought on by the death of the loved one.
Punitive damages are reasonable in cases of gross misconduct resulting in the death of another person. A good illustration may be medical or long term care neglect or abuse.
If you have concerns about whether or not you have a legitimate claim for wrongful death, contact Parker Lawyers @ 303-841-9525 for experienced advice on that or any other legal matter.