Wrongful Death: What is a Life Worth?
In wrongful death cases, such as when someone dies due to medical malpractice or nursing home abuse, family members of the deceased can take legal action and receive financial compensation for various damages including loss of income, pain and suffering, and medical costs. Here is what you need to know about how to litigate for wrongful death, who should do so, and what to expect.
What is Wrongful Death?
If someone suffers an untimely death due to the negligence or willful disregard of another party, such as in a case of medical malpractice, this is considered wrongful death and the deceased’s family or other beneficiaries may take legal action to seek compensation. A wrongful death case must prove that a person’s death could have been prevented were it not for another party’s negligent behaviour. The following are the most common examples of wrongful death causes.
Common Causes of Wrongful Death
- Medical malpractice
- Nursing home abuse/neglect
- Road accidents
- Defective products
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
Wrongful death litigation is usually meant to provide close family members of the deceased with compensation to help them deal with the financial struggles that often go along with such a loss. This means that usually the deceased’s spouse, parents, or child would be most successful in taking legal action. In cases where the deceased had a long-term partner but was not married to them, the partner must prove the validity of their romantic relationship and must have cohabitated with the deceased for at least two years prior to their death. If this can be proven, the partner will be treated as the spouse of the deceased.
Types of Damages
In a wrongful death claim, you can be compensated for various types of damages, depending on your individual circumstances. These may include the loss of the deceased’s income. Speak to a lawyer to determine what type of damages you may be eligible for.
The more time that passes between a loved one’s wrongful death and the legal action taken, the less likely it is that your case will be taken seriously. If you believe that a person you lost could have remained alive were it not for another party’s negligent behaviour, take action sooner rather than later. Do not wait to begin action on your case–speak to an experienced lawyer right away.