What Claims Are Available In A Wrongful Death Case?
No amount of money can pay for a life that is lost. But filing a lawsuit can provide the survivors of the deceased an opportunity to get back on their feet and recover losses from the person liable for the unexpected death of their loved one. According to the website of Karlin, Fleisher & Falkenberg, LLC, it will be to the best interest of the family of the deceased if they file a wrongful death claim.
A wrongful death case is a civil action filed by the surviving family members or the estate of the deceased whose death was due to a negligent act of another person. Depending on the state where the death happened, the awarding of the damages will be dependent on existing rules as well as the time limit.
Categories of Damages
Damages in a wrongful death case are usually classified into two broad categories. The first one covers damages from the time the negligent act happened until the time of death. This might include medical expenses, mental and physical pain and suffering, lost wages, funeral and burial expenses.
The second category of damages shoulders losses experienced by the relatives or surviving family members of the deceased. This category is designed to compensate for financial losses. Damages in this category aim to replace the value of money the deceased could have earned if they were still alive. This includes lost wages and money earned by the deceased until their retirement.
When To Claim
The time period for filing a wrongful death claim is covered by the statute of limitations. The case must be filed by the kins of the dead person within a couple of years after the death. Depending on the nature of claim, the statute of limitation can be extended. Wrongful death claims usually arise from negligence cases. It can be the result of intentional behavior such as homicide or strict liability situations such as defective products or unsafe pharmaceuticals.
Wrongful death is both a civil and criminal case. As the former, it is filed by the family of the victims to recover damages. The burden of proof is on the family through a preponderance of evidence. As a criminal case, it is a public prosecutor who files the case on behalf of the state. The defendant could be charged with first degree or second degree murder, manslaughter, and others. If the defendant is acquitted from criminal charges, they could still be charged with a civil case.