What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit: A Guide on Everything to Know

There were nearly 170,000 unintentional deaths recorded in one year. There were also 17,000 murders reported. These wrongful death situations leave loved ones with emotional and financial burdens.

While you can’t bring a loved one back, you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. What is a wrongful death lawsuit though? It’s a way to help you recover some of the financial burdens that come with death.

What is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death means death due to negligence or intentional harm by another person or persons. Those affected by the death can file a lawsuit against the people responsible. Family members are usually the ones filing a lawsuit.

Wrongful death can take many forms, though they usually fall into two categories. It can involve an accidental or intentional death.

Accidental Wrongful Death Case

Accidental wrongful deaths include any situation where a person kills another without intention. To qualify as a wrongful death suit, death must involve some negligence.

Medical malpractice

Car accidents

Work accidents

Death occurring from proper product use

In each instance, the people responsible for the death didn’t kill anyone on purpose. Death occurs due to improper or inaccurate care.

Intentional Wrongful Death Case

Intentional death occurs when someone has an intent to harm another person. They don’t need to start with an intent to kill. It only matters that death occurred due to their desire to harm. 

Assault and robbery that result in murder fall into this category. Intentional murder also qualifies for a wrongful death case.

How to File a Wrongful Death Suit

To file a wrongful death suit, you must prove the defendants’ actions resulted in death. This means proving they had a responsibility to care for the victim’s well-being and failed in this duty. 

You also need to prove the death resulted in damages to the people filing a lawsuit.  People who can file include

A spouse

Minor children

Parents of minors

A person with a financial dependence on the victim

Other people who want to file a claim must check state regulations. The ability for parents of adult children, adult children, adult siblings, or extended family to file changes based on the state.

Damages Awarded for Wrongful Death

If you’re able to prove you have a case, you must decide what type of damages you’re filing for. There are many options for wrongful death damages. The most common damages awarded include

Medical costs of the victim before death

Funeral and burial costs

Loss of inheritance due to the death

Loss of present and future income

Loss of care provided by the victim

There are also cases of emotional damages due to wrongful death. Emotional damage is harder to quantify though.

You also have options for how you receive the settlement payments. You can take a lump sum or a structured settlement.

Lump Sums

A lump sum is a single payment of all damages required. This can result in large sums depending on the amount awarded.

Lump sums allow you to disperse payments between everyone involved. This also allows you to pay for large expenses resulting from the death.

Structured Settlements

Structured settlements are payments spread out. This results in a monthly payment of the amount owed until the full settlement is paid.

If you receive monthly payments and need a large sum instead, you can sell structured settlement payments to a funding firm willing to work with you.

Understand Your Financial Options

If you’re trying to overcome the loss of financial help, you need to know your options outside what is a wrongful death lawsuit. You need to know how to get your finances under control.

If you’re not sure where to start, check out all your financial and lifestyle options.

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