For families, a loved one dying in an accident caused by negligence is a monumentally devastating event, particularly if the deceased family member was a primary wage earner. From the moment they find out, questions arise as to the next steps based on the circumstances surrounding the death.
Dying before filing a claim
In many cases, the victim initially survives, but complications arise over a few days or months. What started as a personal injury claim becomes a wrongful death lawsuit where the heirs are the plaintiffs pursuing compensation for their loss and any pain and suffering that occurred.
Criminal vs. Civil actions
Deaths that occur due to a crime are handled in criminal court. However, families can still pursue the responsible party in a civil case. Burdens of proof are vastly different in both proceedings. Criminal cases have a higher standard than civil cases, where families can secure a monetary judgment against the person or persons responsible for their loss. While no amount of compensation can truly replace your loss, it can help alleviate many of the financial burdens facing you and your family.
A non-working loved one
Wrongful death claims where the deceased loved one was never employed are not necessarily an obstacle. They may have contributed to the family by staying home to care for the children while the other spouse worked full-time. These types of contributions have value in a lawsuit.
Wrongful death of a child
Lawsuits that involve the loss of children are particularly emotionally charged. Even though the offspring of parents never worked, compensation is certainly an option for negligent acts that resulted in a tragic loss.
Wrongful death lawsuits are complicated and not something to pursue without the help of an attorney experienced in this tragic aspect of personal injury law.