Wrongful death lawsuit can be filed against someone who acted wrongfully or negligently against another person, and as a result has caused what’s known as a “wrongful death”. It is important to note that wrongful death cases are separate from criminal cases associated with the accident, so even if the perpetrator is not convicted on the criminal proceedings, they are still bound by law to compensate the family of the deceased for the pain and suffering brought on by the incident.
Although most wrongful death cases today involve car accidents, medical malpractice is also another element that contributes to the increasing number of wrongful death cases. Wrongful death lawsuits may be filed against the manufacturer of a wrongful product, a negligent employer or a criminal. This remains the cast so long as a provable negligent or wrongful act is committed, that resulted to death of the victim. The O.J. Simpson case is one famous example of a wrongful death case. Even if he was acquitted of all criminal charges, the wrongful death claim, which was compensated to the father of the victim, totled $33,500 million.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death claim may be filed by the immediate family of the deceased – parents, spouse and children – depending on the state where the claim is being filed. In some states grandparents, legally adopted children and immediate relatives are also permitted to file for a wrongful death claim proven that the immediate family of the deceased is no longer present. Of course the compensation that the family member may receive cannot make up for the loss of their family member but it may help ease the financial burden of the family especially if the decedent is the income earner of the family.
If the child or the children of the defedent are minors, then the state law will look for a legal guardian to file for the wrongful death compensation and provide assistance to the children until they reached the legal age. If the decedent is an elderly person, the immediate family, such as the children and spouse, may file for a wrongful death claim. However it is important to note that the compensation may not include parental care guidance, nurturing or financial support because children of the elderly are already grownups and are already supporting themselves. However the individua may claim loss of future inheritance.
Who Can Be Sued?
Anyone who acted negligently that has caused death to another person can be sued in a wrongful death lawsuit. If a cab driver gets himself drunk and then killed his passenger, the family of the victim may file for wrongful death claim against the driver. If a doctor misdiagnosed his patient that led to the death of the victim, the doctor may be sued the negligent act. If a car manufacturer has sold a car with faulty breaks that have caused death to passengers of the car, then the family of the victims may sue the car manufacturer for wrongful death. However, in a case involving intent, for example a person using a particularly brand of screwdriver to kill a person, the manufacturer of the screwdriver is clearly not liable for a wrongful death claim because they did not act wrongfully in the production of the screwdriver.