Imagine your loved one dies before his or her time. An unexpected accident like this will leave you and your relatives in a state of disbelief and emotional turmoil. The all-pervading question, "Why?" will be hard to remove from your minds for many years to come.
In addition to wishing that you could bring your loved one back, you may also want to bring the parties responsible for your loved one's death to justice by filing a wrongful death suit.
When can I file a wrongful death action?
In order to file a wrongful death action against an at-fault party, the following factors need to be present:
- A close relative has died. This relative might be your parent or your spouse, or it might be someone whom you were financially dependent on.
- Your loved one died because of another party's negligence, recklessness, unlawful behavior, or intent to cause injury or harm.
- You and/or other close family members have survived the death of the loved one and the death has caused measurable injury to the survivors.
What kinds of situations give rise to wrongful death actions?
When the above three factors apply to a death, the case could give rise to wrongful death claims. Here are a few example situations that might fit the above categories:
- A doctor commits negligence or malpractice that leads to a patient's death.
- A car accident, ATV accident, airplane accident, bicycle accident or motorcycle accident ends in the death of an individual.
- Exposure to hazardous substances or conditions results in someone's death.
- In the course of committing a crime, a wrongfully acting party causes someone's death.
- Someone died during a supervised activity. Perhaps a tourist died during a tour, or a child died while playing sports at school.
Investigate every unexpected death to determine who was at fault
Any time an unexpected death happens, family members may want to investigate why the deadly accident occurred. If close family members discover that a negligent or wrongfully acting party was to blame for the death, then they might be able to seek financial restitution in court.