Wrongful death is one of the most devastating types of death imaginable. Unlike death from illness or old age, loved ones have no time to prepare for this type of death. They aren’t expecting it, they aren’t prepared for that phone call, and they don’t see it coming. Imagine you have a loved one who has already turned 100. You know that he or she has lived a long and wonderful life, but you also know that reaching this milestone age is uncommon and death could occur any day. The moment you get the call your loved one has passed is a difficult moment and a horrible call, but it’s not completely unexpected.
Imagine you have a loved one who is 25 and in great health. You expect this person is going to eventually get married, have kids, build a home, retire, travel, and enjoy his life. Now imagine you receive a phone call from the local hospital informing you that your loved one was hit by a car while out for a jog and has passed away during emergency surgery. You did not see this coming. It’s a total shock and completely unexpected. While there is no such thing as an easy death, it’s often the deaths that are preventable, unexpected, and completely shocking that are the most difficult to get over. A death like this could be wrongful death, and that might make it even more horrendous for your family.
What Makes This Situation Wrongful Death?
There is a simple method to determine if a death is a tragic accident or wrongful. If someone is killed because someone else is negligent, it’s wrongful death. It doesn’t matter if the person who caused the accident intended to or not. Here are a few examples of wrongful death to better help you understand, by using the example that your loved one was out jogging at the time of death.
- Your loved one was struck by a car while jogging. Your loved one was jogging across a crosswalk with the right of way when the driver of the car blew through a red light on purpose to avoid being any later to work than he already was. He hit your loved one and killed him. He didn’t mean to kill your loved one, even though he did purposefully blow through a red light. This is wrongful death. The same goes for a driver who simply didn’t see the red light because he quickly turned around to hand the baby in the backseat his bottle. He didn’t mean to kill anyone or go through the light, but a momentary distraction caused this accident. It is wrongful death.
- Your loved one was struck by a car while jogging. Your loved one was jogging along the neighborhood street when a criminal decided he needed some money and hit your loved one with his car for the sole purpose of incapacitating him to get his wallet, keys, and watch. This is wrongful death.
On the other hand, it might not be wrongful death if your loved one is jogging and crosses a crosswalk without the right of way. If he is hit by a car at this time, it’s his own fault since the driver was not breaking any laws. Your loved one didn’t have the right of way yet still decided to go.
What Else Do I Need to Know about Wrongful Death?
There are many things you need to know about wrongful death. You now know it’s death caused by the negligence of another person or company. It can happen anytime. You should also know that you cannot automatically sue someone for wrongful death, depending on where you live.
Most states work within the confines of the immediate family. A spouse, child, or parent can sue for wrongful death. Some states allow other family members to file a lawsuit alleging wrongful death, but only if the relationship falls within specific parameters. For example, if the person killed is the immediate financial provider of a life partner, that person might be able to sue for wrongful death citing their own financial life is now a mess.
Anyone who suffers financially can sue for wrongful death if their own financial life is about to take a turn because of the death of someone else, and that’s not something any state argues with. If you plan on suing for wrongful death, though, you must be able to prove it was wrongful.
- You must prove someone was killed from injuries sustained in an accident.
- You must prove the person who caused the accident was negligent in that they did not abide by a duty of care. For example, a duty of care is when someone is obligated legally to ensure you are safe no matter what. Any person who gets behind the wheel of a car has the duty of care to drive safely and responsibly while following all the rules of the road so as to keep everyone else safe. If that driver is drunk, they are breaching their duty of care.
Proving wrongful death is not hard in most cases, but it’s difficult for grieving family members to handle. There are many things you can sue for when this happens, and these are a few examples.
- Pain and suffering
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost income
- Emotional distress
- Medical bills
The financial stress of losing someone you love in a wrongful death situation is too much for some people to bear. This is why you should contact a wrongful death attorney to discuss your case. Your attorney can tell you if you have a case, what might happen, how it might all pan out, and to what you are entitled. You have rights, and you should enact them when you have a chance.
You should focus on the survival of your family following the death of a loved one. You are grieving, and you should not continue to grieve as well as suffer from financial problems because someone you loved is no longer around to provide their financial earnings to your family. It’s time for you to contact an attorney to find out what rights you have and if this might be a wrongful death suit. You want someone on your side who is familiar with the law and able to help you in this situation. Let an attorney help you recover financially. You’ll never recover from the loss, but you can minimize future stress.