The death of a loved one tends to cause an enormous hole in the heart of the family members. The emotional baggage becomes even more significant if their loved one passed away due to the negligence of another person or an organization. Knowing that the deceased could be alive and kicking if someone else had done what is expected of them can cause extreme pain. Fortunately, the law makes it possible for the succeeding family members to seek justice for their loved one by filing a wrongful death case. Even though this lawsuit may not bring back the deceased, the damages awarded go a long way in reducing the financial burden that may have been placed on the family.
What Is Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death as the name seems to imply, refers to a situation in which a person dies due to the wrongful conduct or negligence of another person or an entity. The act of wrongful conduct that results in the loss of life might be either intentional or non-intentional. On the other hand, a wrongful death claim or lawsuit is the civil action taken by the survivors (the family members) of the deceased against the person or entity which was negligent. It is vital to note that this civil action taken by the survivors usually is separate and different from criminal charges. What does this mean? In simple terms, when the person who caused death is arrested and charged for murder, the survivors still have the right to file separate wrongful death charges against the defendant.
Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death?
When a person dies due to negligence, only the survivors are allowed to take civil action against the defendant. In this case, the survivors are usually called the real parties in interest. Even though the statues of wrongful death vary from one state to another, most states consider the following groups of people as real parties in interest:
– Immediate family members, for instance, the spouse, children, and the parents of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit
– Financial dependents. In some states, anyone who financially relied on the deceased is also considered a real party in interest. In this case, even a putative spouse can take civil action against the defendant for wrongful death.
– Members of the extended family who had a close connection with the deceased can also sue. This includes siblings and grandparents. Apart from the people listed above, in some states, anyone who suffered financial loss due to the death can also sue for wrongful death even if they were not related to the deceased in any way. Due to variations in statues from one state to another, it is vital that you first consult a wrongful death attorney Phoenix AZ so you can know whether you have a claim and if yes whether you are a real party in interest.
Types Of Damages That Arise From Wrongful Death
Even though each case is unique, some common wrongful death damages that a defendant might be required to pay the survivors include loss of income, Medical bills and funeral costs, Childcare costs, The pain and suffering that the survivors go through after the loss of their loved one, and/or Loss of benefits. Those are just a few. There are many more that your attorney can recommend you fight for.