A wrongful death lawsuit may be filed when an individual dies as a result of another party’s neglect or intentionally harmful actions. You may have heard the term associated with medical malpractice. For example, misdiagnoses and improper follow-up care are forms of neglect that may contribute to or lead to wrongful death. However, wrongful deaths may also occur because of other reasons, such as traffic accidents, work incidents and defective product malfunctions.
Family members of people who suffer wrongful deaths may contact a wrongful death lawyer and file a claim. A preponderance of evidence is required for determining liability. The plaintiff and his or her wrongful death attorney must prove three things.
1. The Death Was Caused by Negligence or Harmful Intent
A party’s actions must have caused the death either through neglect or behavior meant to hurt the victim. Note that in the case of harmful intent, the accused does not have to want to kill, only to cause harm. Neglect can take a number of forms. For instance, in wrongful death cases involving nursing homes, malnutrition, dehydration and bedsores may serve as evidence of neglect. In an automotive accident, speeding and ignoring traffic signs are signs of neglect. For neglect to have happened, the responsible person must have owed the decedent a duty of care and breached it.
2. The Plaintiff(s) Sustained Financial Losses
Those filing the claim must show that they suffered pecuniarily. Losses may include medical and funeral costs, as well as no longer having access to expected inheritance, support or services.
3. The Existence of a Representative
In order of precedence, spouses, children, grandchildren and inheritors may file a wrongful death claim. However, in certain cases, a personal representative may need to be appointed to file on their behalf.
A wrongful death claim can help you receive your rightful damages after the passing of a loved one.
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