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Wrongful Death

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For a wrongful death case experts are hired to support the evidence that is needed in a wrongful death case to get a substantial recovery.

The tragedy of a wrongful death case can be overwhelming. Wrongful death refers to a lawsuit which alleges that the victim was killed as a result of the negligent conduct or misdeeds of another. Most wrongful death suits are based on negligence, and as with all negligence suits, you will need to prove that the wrongdoer had a duty to act in a certain manner, failed to act in such a responsible manner (breached the duty), and such failure caused the death of your loved one.

Wrongful death cases are different than other claims, in that they involve damages for loss of consortium, society, affection and companionship, which means the loss of having that person around you. The estate has claims for the loss of the earnings capabilities of the victim and funeral and burial expenses as well.


In wrongful death lawsuit, many of the damages are recoverable. Legal answers at's wrongful death law section.The following damages may be recovered in a wrongful death action:

(1) Immediate expenses associated with the death (medical & funeral):
(2) Loss of victim's anticipated earnings in the future until time of retirement or death;
(3) Loss of benefits caused by the victim's death (pension, medical coverage, etc.);
(4) Loss of inheritance caused by the untimely death;
(5) Pain and suffering, or mental anguish to the survivors;
(6) Loss of care, protection, companionship to the survivors;
(7) General damages; and
(8) Punitive damages.

Depending on the jurisdiction, some of the listed damages may be barred or restricted by statute. Also, some of the listed damages may be hard to prove and thus be considered too speculative by the court. As a result, they may be struck or restricted. Punitive damages may require a higher level of proof.

Depending on your jurisdiction, plaintiffs may be able to recover interest calculated from the time of death, the time the damages were incurred, or from the time of the filing of the lawsuit. Finally, most of the damages for future loss (such as the victim's anticipated earnings) will be reduced to "present value".

Each state has different rules regarding who can sue for wrongful death

The legal system is designed to protect the rights of those who have suffered from the negligence of others. In most states, if the death of a relative was caused by the wrongful act of another, surviving family members have the right to financial compensation for the death.

Generally you must be either the personal representative (a person who manages the affairs of another because of incapacity or death), child, spouse, or parent of the person killed. In other words, if your friend is killed you cannot sue for wrongful death. However, if your husband or wife is killed you likely can. Typically, the person suing for wrongful death can recover the value of lost monetary support. Additionally, some states allow certain close family members to recover for their own mental anguish caused by the death of the loved one.

After the loss of a loved one, the last thing the family wants to think about is taking legal action. But in many cases, prompt action is required to investigate the circumstances and to preserve evidence. Waiting to retain legal counsel can be damaging to any future claims.

If you suspect that you may have a case of wrongful death, we can help. Wrongful death cases are also different because they are very delicate cases, which require careful consideration by the attorney and the insurance companies. They require extensive research, discussion with colleagues, and a great deal of evidence and expert opinion collection. Often a lawsuit is needed to get the insurance company to give the money the estate deserves in a timely fashion. The insurance company will try to hang on to the money as long as possible.

Wrongful death claims are also unique in that the money is given to the estate of the victim and not to the victim. Before the wrongful death case begins, someone must be appointed the personal representative or executor of the estate. This occurs in a separate probate case. We have experience in handling all parts of the wrongful death case.


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