Wrongful death suits arise when the surviving loved ones or the estate of the deceased person brings an action on behalf of the decedent (the deceased person). Wrongful death suits operate on the premise that someone died due to the negligent action or omission of another person and that person should be held responsible for that person's death. This post will go over some typical questions that come up when families considering pursuing a wrongful death suit.
Can I file a wrongful death claim if my loved one dies before they can bring a personal injury suit? The answer is, of course, it depends on. If your loved one died because of injuries that were caused by another person, then you would have a valid wrongful death claim. But, determining the cause is a matter of fact. If your loved one died too far in time from the accident, then it could be argued that intervening circumstances resulted in their death. A lawyer can go over the nuances of your particular issue.
What is the difference between a criminal trial for homicide and a civil trial for wrongful death? It may seem like both of these cases deal with the same issue, the death of a person. But a criminal trial poses a much higher burden of proof for a guilty verdict whereas a wrongful death suit only requires a majority of the evidence be for a verdict. Furthermore, not all negligently caused deaths rise to the requisite criminal level. This is largely a factual issue to be determined by the police and prosecutor. You could pursue a wrongful death claim even if the person was found not guilty of criminal charges.
Did you suffer the loss of a loved one? You may want to call an attorney and review your rights for compensation. You may be entitled to a recovery for the lost economic value of their work and support. You may also have the right to pursue an auxiliary claim for the loss of their companionship. A lawyer can go over the various requirements and possible recoveries.