What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
Alice had been living a great life, working as an accountant and spending quality time with her family. That all changed one fateful day when she received the news that her beloved husband had been taken from her in a tragic truck accident.
Alice and her three children were devastated. They could not imagine how this could happen. Not knowing exactly what to do since her husband was killed in a truck accident, she hired a law firm to help.
She discovered quickly that the trucking company’s failure to follow safety protocols had made her husband’s death preventable. After a series of investigations, it was uncovered that the truck that caused the accident was not maintained properly.
Poor truck maintenance caused the tractor-trailer accident when worn tires blew out. When the driver tried to stop the out-of-control tractor-trailer, he was unable to do so as the brakes were worn.
The truck’s undercarriage was very rusty, and parts were actually corroding when it was inspected after the crash. This was an unsafe vehicle that should never have been on the road when it caused the truck crash.
Alice knew that she needed help from a truck accident attorney to get justice for her late husband’s wrongful death. That’s when she sought out the assistance of The Yost Legal Group.
We were able to build a strong case against the trucking company. We fought to make those responsible accountable for her husband’s wrongful death.
Seeking justice after a wrongful death.
When a loved one dies due to another person’s negligence or recklessness, surviving family members may be able to pursue a wrongful death action. Such an action seeks damages from those responsible for the death of their relative.
There is no amount of money that can replace someone who has passed away. Filing a wrongful death claim is a way to seek justice and hold the at-fault party accountable for their actions.
The concept of a wrongful death claim was created in the United States on a state-by-state basis. Gradually, each state enacted its own wrongful death statute.
Therefore, the ability of family members to recover under a wrongful death statute, and the types of recovery available, vary from state to state.
There may be two claims under the wrongful death statute. Many states provide for two separate actions within wrongful death statutes.
What is a Survival Action Wrongful Death lawsuit?
A “Survival Action” is a lawsuit for the person who was injured and killed. This cause of action belongs to their estate. Usually, the items brought for a Survival Action are the:
- Conscious pain and suffering before death.
- Medical expenses leading up to death caused by the harm.
- Funeral expenses
Some states include the loss of future earnings the person would have had if they lived out the expected remainder of their life. When this money is recovered in a survival action, the money goes to the deceased party’s estate.
A person’s wrongful death settlement money in a survival action is dispersed according to their will if they have one. This is in cases where the death is caused by the negligence of someone else.
What if no will exists? In this case, each state has a process called intestate succession. This is how the government divides money among immediate family members.
An experienced wrongful death law firm can file a wrongful death case on your behalf. Contacting one of our Baltimore car accident lawyers will help guide you through the legal process.
What is a Direct Action Wrongful Death Claim?
In some states, certain family members can make a “Direct Action” claim under a wrongful death statute. This is in addition to the survival action that is brought by the deceased person’s estate. This claim is for the loss of their loved one.
Each state has its own rules and prohibitions regarding who can bring a claim for the loss of a loved one. This group of people varies from state to state.
Usually, there is some variation of a spouse, children of the deceased, and perhaps their biological parents.
Each of these people would have a right to claim damages for the loss of a loved one. Almost always, all the permissible wrongful death direct action claims must be brought in a single lawsuit and resolved at once.
If no one qualifies for compensation as a primary beneficiary, sometimes there is a secondary group in the claim.
The secondary beneficiary group could involve brothers and sisters of the deceased, cousins, and more distant relatives.
Spousal Rights in Wrongful Death Actions
If the deceased person had a job and contributed financially to the household, their financial contribution would be considered. That may be claimed by the surviving spouse.
This number could include the loss of their income contributing to the home for the expected life of the deceased.
More important than any financial contribution, however, is a surviving spouse’s loss of the companionship and support of their loved one.
Many wrongful death statutes allow a surviving spouse to claim non-economic or human damages, which seek to value the loss of companionship and a loss of the relationship.
Parents’ Rights in Wrongful Death Claims
In certain circumstances, the parents of a deceased may have suffered an economic loss where the deceased child was gainfully employed and contributed financially to the maintenance and support of elderly parents. If that were the case, they may also have a claim for economic loss.
If the state’s wrongful death statute allows parents to be considered as beneficiaries, they may also be able to claim non-economic damages for the loss of their relationship with their son or daughter.
What are Non-Economic Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Unlike economic damages, which represent the loss of financial contribution anticipated by the deceased, many states also permit family members to seek non-economic damages.
Non-economic damages seek to value the loss of a surviving family member in terms of their anguish, sorrow, emotional pain and suffering, and loss of companionship, comfort, protection, care, attention, advice, and counsel of the deceased loved one.
For example, a young child whose parent is prematurely taken from them due to the wrongful conduct of another will suffer the loss of a relationship with their parent as well as the anticipated guidance and companionship that the parent would have provided.
All the events that the deceased parent will not be able to attend with the child should also be taken into consideration.
Are there time limits to file a Wrongful Death Claim?
There are time limits for wrongful death beneficiaries to bring their claims. These time limits vary from state to state. Some states start the countdown for filing the claim immediately on the date of the deceased’s death.
Others have extensions if an estate has not been opened in a court for the deceased.
Some states have discovery rules that can extend the timeframe for filing a lawsuit. For instance, let’s consider a scenario where a person develops cancer due to prolonged use of a carcinogenic product.
If it is discovered through a recently published study that the product may have caused cancer, the deadline for filing a wrongful death claim may not start until it becomes widely known that the product is linked to that specific cancer.
These rules aim to ensure that individuals have sufficient time to seek justice in cases like these.
Help from an experienced wrongful death lawyer.
Wrongful Death claims can be complex. There are many variables in these lawsuits. A lawyer for wrongful death is needed to investigate the claim thoroughly. This is to protect the rights of the surviving family.
Hiring an experienced wrongful death attorney can provide invaluable assistance and guidance in navigating this difficult process. An experienced lawyer can help in many ways.
– Provide knowledge of applicable laws and regulations in each state
– Will work with you to understand your rights and how best to move forward.
– Conduct a thorough investigation and build a strong case surrounding what happened.
– Secure evidence and prepare documents to support the claim.
– Collect witness statements, hospital records, and the necessary medical reports.
– Advise on how best to allocate resources without you having to pay out any money.
– Will work to seek maximum compensation.
– Will protect you from unnecessary legal costs.
– Will negotiate with insurance companies on your behalf to reach a favorable settlement.
You can depend on the wrongful death lawyers at The Yost Legal Group
Call an attorney for wrongful death at The Yost Legal Group. The best wrongful death lawyers can be essential in guiding you through the complex process of filing a wrongful death claim.
Whether your loved one’s death was caused by a car accident, medical malpractice, or a pedestrian accident, we can help. We’ll investigate the facts, determine what happened, and work to seek justice.
If a loved one passed away because of the negligent behavior of someone else, call one of our accidental death lawyers. Accidents involving serious personal injury and wrongful death require an experienced legal team on your side.
Our wrongful death attorneys handle these delicate cases with care and compassion. Call 1-800-967-8529 for a free, confidential consultation. Our Maryland wrongful death lawyers are highly experienced in this area of law.