Instances of wrongful death are naturally challenging. Those surviving the death of the victim, or the decedent, are going through emotions of extreme anger, incalculable grief, and true loss. At the same time, there is the need to correct wrongs and seek some form of reparation for any negligence.
Lawyers with experience and compassion are equipped to help survivors alleviate some of their suffering by moving forward with a wrongful death claim. With an understanding of the legal implications and the economic dimension of the case, lawyers can help families on their road to recovery.
Here are four ways lawyers can help wrongful death victims.
Pursuing A Wrongful Death Claim
The first step to legally handling a wrongful death victim case is to pursue a wrongful death claim. Lawyers can assess the facts of the case and give advice on whether or not pursuing a civil suit in court is viable. As much as possible, lawyers are concerned with the best possible recourse and support for the survivors.
Wrongful death happens when a person’s death is caused by a wrongful act, neglect, or default of another party. In many ways, the aspects of a wrongful death claim is similar to that of a personal injury lawsuit. The only clear difference is that the descended cannot represent themselves in a wrongful death claim, and must be represented by a personal representative among the eligible survivors.
Those who can pursue a wrongful death claim, and therefore those who should consult a legal team as soon as possible, include the executor of will, or a family member. Among the family members, the recognized representative must have some form of actual economic dependency on the decedent. In order of precedence, this refers to:
- Surviving spouse and children
- Surviving parents
- Surviving brothers, sisters, nieces or nephews
Substantiating a wrongful death claim
A wrongful death claim cannot be pursued without enough substantiation. As mentioned, wrongful death is similar in many ways to a personal injury lawsuit, and shares many of the same legal aspects.
These include proving the existence of:
- Duty: there must have been a duty of care owed to the victim, such that the person being sued for neglect was responsible for the victim in some way
- Breach: the proven duty was breached, such as a driver who had a duty to drive carefully and who was drinking while driving
- Causation: the wrongful actions or neglect of the person being sued served as the proximate cause of the death, meaning there was a direct and logical link
- Damages: the death of the person accrued actual financial losses to the survivors
Claiming available damages
The concept of economic damages, or pecuniary damages, is important in a wrongful death claim. While mental anguish, pain, and suffering are all real damages to the survivors, they are not covered by this particular legal doctrine.
The amount of recover depends on facts of the case. Potential losses can be calculated by a forensic economist who will provide expert testimony, while other real damages can be established by receipts.
Available damages may include:
- Loss of income, including future earnings and job benefits
- Family’s lost care, guidance, support or advice
- Lost inheritance
- Funeral expenses
- Medical bills
Aiding in the path to recovery
Ultimately, lawyers can help in aiding survivors in their path to recovery. While the death of a loved one is always jarring, this aspect of recovery must be initiated as soon as possible. Wrongful death claims must be filed within the statute of limitations, which is defined within two years after the date of the victim’s death.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney Today
Here at DeZao Law, we believe in finding the right recourse and support for your suffering. With our years of experience in personal injury law and related specialties, we can help you successfully file a civil lawsuit for recompense. Contact the Law Office of James C. DeZao at 1-844-332-1527 or fill up our online contact form today!