There are a number of times where it makes sense that a family files a wrongful death lawsuit against a negligent party. When one person dies because of the negligence or willful wrongdoing of an individual, the family may have the right to file a wrongful death suit, which is a personal injury case. While the deceased can't recover money for pain and suffering, the estate of the deceased person can. When there is a spouse or young children left behind, the financial future of the family is uncertain. If the death was caused by another party at fault, it's time to see if a wrongful death case is viable.
Wrongful Death After a Car Accident
Car accidents can happen to anyone, and they sometimes result in death. When police respond to an accident, they write a report of the incident and attribute fault to one or both parties. The deceased party could be 100% at fault, which means there is no wrongful death case. Just like in a personal injury case, if the deceased person is less than 50% at fault for the accident, the estate can file a wrongful death lawsuit.
How Damages Are Measured
Death is the ultimate loss after a personal injury. The spouse or children of the deceased may have lost the person who financially supports the family. They have lost a valued family member. The individual suffered, and the losses are great. The losses are both the ones you can measure, such as a damaged vehicle, and those you can't, like pain and suffering. The family is suffering and will continue to suffer for years.
When the Estate Files a Claim
The estate of a deceased individual can file a wrongful death claim against the party at fault on behalf of the heirs, even if it is not clear who all of the heirs are. Any money that is recovered from the suit will be distributed by adding the money to the estate and sending out each heir their percentage. The process can take time, and the insurance company of the guilty party may be interested in a settlement instead.
If you have lost a spouse and you believe their death was due to negligence, it's time to talk to a wrongful death attorney. You can talk over the details of your case, and your attorney will determine whether you have a case to file or not.