If an accident results in death, family members and loved ones left behind may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is a particular kind of personal injury case that is filed when death occurs due to another party’s action or failure to act.
These cases can often be complicated. Below is a list of common questions family members ask when considering a wrongful death claim:
1. Who can sue for wrongful death?
Most wrongful death claims are limited to surviving family members such as spouses, children, and parents. Some locations may allow a suit to be filed by domestic partners, siblings, and grandparents. The premise of a case is to compensate those who would suffer a financial hardship due to the deceased’s death.
2. Are workplace injuries applicable cases?
Workplace injuries are generally not subject to wrongful death litigation because they fall under worker’s compensation statutes. Worker’s compensation laws are in place to protect both employees and employers in the event of an accident on the job, so civil suits are usually barred.
3. What are the different types of wrongful death claims?
Wrongful death claims may vary depending on who the deceased is and on the nature of the death. A claim regarding the death of a child will be different than one that concerns the death of a parent. Wrongful death claims can be filed after a variety of fatal accidents, including auto accidents, medical malpractice, nursing home abuse and other types of negligence.
4. What damages are awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit?
Two types of damages are awarded in a wrongful death case. The first are financial damages that relate to such things as lost income and medical bills. The second is punitive damages which are meant to punish the guilty party’s negligent behavior.
5. Is there a time limit to file a wrongful death suit?
There are definitely time restrictions on when you can file a wrongful death claim. This is called a statute of limitations. In California, you have two years to file a wrongful death claim. The two years starts from the date of the fatal accident.
Wrongful death claims are complicated and difficult to pursue while you are still grieving the loss of a loved one. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you understand your rights and protect your family’s future.