Following the death of a loved one due to another party’s negligence, the deceased’s family can file a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation for damages. Wrongful death can occur during a personal injury incident in which the at-fault party, such as a driver, property owner, or healthcare professional, exposes the victim to such harm through negligence that they lose their life.
A family who lost a loved one prematurely can experience economic and non-economic damages that can affect their finances and quality of life. The death of a loved one can result in them having to pay for medical expenses, burial and funeral costs, and account for the wages they will no longer receive from their deceased loved one. The family can also experience significant emotional pain from losing companionship, mentorship, love, affection, and parental services.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death claim is a civil action filed by someone after their loved one dies because of the negligence of another party. Loved ones file wrongful death claims to pursue compensation for damages caused by their loved one’s death. An at-fault party whose negligence or reckless behavior caused the death can be held liable for damages in a wrongful death claim.
The following are some personal injury incidents that can cause a wrongful death:
- Motor vehicle accidents
- Bicycle accidents
- Slip and fall accidents
- Boating accidents
- Defective drugs
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Nursing home abuse
- Defective medical devices
The at-fault party likely owed the deceased a duty of care, or a responsibility to act safely and within the bounds of the law to prevent harm, and failed to uphold it. Their reckless or negligent actions caused their death, meaning they can be held liable for damages in a wrongful death claim.
Family Members Can Pursue Compensation for Their Deceased Loved Ones’ Medical Bills
Most family members who file wrongful death claims will begin by calculating the economic damages caused by their loved one’s death, which are the financial losses that result from the wrongful death. One of the most common damages people pursue in personal injury claims is for medical expenses.
People who experience severe injuries that take their lives after personal injury incidents may require hospitalization before passing away. They can receive medical treatment to heal their injuries or other health conditions. Despite the medical treatment not working, the family will still have to pay for medical bills. These expenses can include costs associated with surgery, medication, hospitalization, and ambulatory services.
Receiving Compensation for Burial or Funeral Costs Through a Wrongful Death Claim
Family members of the deceased also have to prepare funeral services to mourn the life of their loved one. What funeral services take place can depend on the deceased loved one’s religion and desires before their death. Some people prefer to be cremated after their death or buried in a casket. No matter how the funeral happens, the family will incur costs to pay for the funeral services they can pursue compensation for through a wrongful death claim.
Family Members Can Pursue Compensation for Lost Earning Potential
When someone passes away, they can no longer earn wages that the family needs to pay for housing, food, clothing, etc. In the case of the death of a household breadwinner, those in the family may be unable to afford the life they had before due to lost wages and earning potential.
The at-fault party deprived the family of this lost income when they committed a negligent action that caused the wrongful death. The family can pursue compensation for wage-based losses like the money the deceased could have earned if they hadn’t died.
Non-Economic Damages Caused by a Family Member’s Wrongful Death
Family members can also experience non-economic damages after a wrongful death due to the intangible negative effect on the family’s quality of life. People who love the deceased, such as a spouse, child, or parent, can experience depression and anxiety due to the grief caused by the loss of a loved one.
They cannot experience the love, compassion, parental guidance, affection, and emotional support their loved one provided before their wrongful death. Family members can file a wrongful death claim to pursue compensation for non-economic damages.
The following are some of the non-economic damages caused by wrongful death:
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of parental services
- Loss of consortium
Should You Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
After a family member suffers a wrongful death, you should hire a personal injury lawyer who can use their experience to help you pursue compensation for damages. During a free consultation, a wrongful death lawyer can assess your family’s case to determine if an at-fault party can be held liable for your loved one’s death.
If they determine you have a case, they can advise your family on the best steps to take to succeed with your wrongful death claim. As your family grieves over the unexpected loss of a loved one, an experienced wrongful death lawyer can begin the process of collecting evidence filing paperwork, and reaching out to the at-fault party’s insurance company. They can also help you determine the full cost of your wrongful death claim to ensure you recover fair compensation for your deceased loved one’s damages.
Contact The Russo Firm for Help With Your Wrongful Death Claim
At The Russo Firm, we have wrongful death lawyers with experience helping victims of wrongful death from car accidents, medical malpractice, and Camp Lejeune water contamination. We understand the mental and emotional issues that can arise following the death of a loved one and wish to help you handle the legal process to allow you to grieve without having to worry about it.
Our wrongful death lawyers will treat your case respectfully and only proceed in ways you are comfortable with. Contact us for a free wrongful death consultation to speak about how our personal injury lawyers can help with your claim by calling us at (561) 270-0913 or leaving a message on our online contact page.