Wrongful Death Overview

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What happens when a person dies as a result of someone's wrongdoing? For those in distress over the loss of a loved one, who feel that the death was unnecessary and could have been prevented, there is a provision in place that allows them to file a lawsuit on behalf of the deceased. This is known as a wrongful death suit. Wrongful death suits are civil court matters, in which the defendant is sued for monetary damages, but will not face jail time. Each state has different laws on who can and cannot instigate a wrongful death suit. All states allow immediate family members to do so, but may differ on laws for extended family, legal guardians and legal dependents.

There are a number of different conditions that need to be satisfied in order for a wrongful death suit to be legitimized. First, the defendant or prospective defendant needs to actually be responsible for the deceased's passing. For example, if the defendant is a construction company, it must be proven that the construction company was directly and inadvertently responsible for the death of the deceased to make it a wrongful death suit. These lawsuits can be brought against a wide variety of people, such as the driver at fault in a car accident, the manufacturer of a faulty product, or even a violent criminal who may also have been tried on criminal charges. In the case of an elderly person who dies because of abuse, whether physical or emotional, which occurred on premises at a nursing home or assisted living facility, a wrongful death lawsuit may be pursued by the family of the decedent.

In the wrongful death suit, survivors of the decedent can sue for the cost of medical bills incurred, as well as for burial expenses. More damages may be sought depending on the livelihood of the deceased, determining the amount of damages by the amount they would have occurred in the future. These may include an estimate of the earnings that would have earned if the person had lived, as well as the pain and suffering experienced by the family due to the absence of their loved one.
Residents of nursing homes may be subject to wrongful death through preventable negligence and abuse, including falls, medication errors, bedsores, malnutrition, dehydration, life-threatening infections or diseases, the use of unnecessary restraints, and elopement and wandering. Unfortunately, it's relatively easy for nursing homes to attempt to cover up a death by neglect or abuse by claiming that the individual was old and in poor health.
If your loved one has died while in the care of a nursing home, home health aide or assisted living facility, and you feel that there may have been some abuse or negligent act which may have contributed to that loved one's untimely death, it may very well be a case of wrongful death. A wrongful death attorney can help clarify the situation for you, in part by investigating the facility in question and in part by pursuing a legal case against the person, persons or administrative body whose negligence led to the death.
There are a number of different legalities involved in the filing of a lawsuit under wrongful death and depending on which country you live in, the processes involved are going to be different. If you are considering filing a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased relative, then the best thing for you to do is to speak directly to a lawyer who specializes in wrongful death lawsuits, or who has had a lot of experience with them in the past.

Your best bet at a good outcome depends on the lawyer you have to defend your family. Contact a lawyer and explain the details of the situation to him or her. Once your lawyer knows the situation he or she will be able to advise you on what your options are from this point in time.


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