Losing someone you hold dear is hardly ever easy. Losing a loved one to another party’s negligent is even more difficult, especially when you’re considering filing a wrongful death suit on behalf of the person. The Balance explains the elements of a wrongful death claim so you can make the best decision possible.
Establishing grounds for a lawsuit
There are two necessary components that all wrongful death suits must possess. First, you must be able to prove that your loved one lost his or her life due to someone else’s negligent behavior or intentional act. Second, you must show that you experienced quantifiable harm as a result of your loved one’s death. Damages can be based on tangible factors, like loss of income, or they can be based on emotional distress, such as loss of consortium claims. Loss of affection and companionship can be cited during a wrongful death case, and damages may be awarded as a result.
Types of damages awarded
Damages can be sought for many different reasons. You can request money to pay remaining medical bills, cover funeral expenses, or make up for lost wages if the person who died was the family’s primary breadwinner. Damages can also be sought for pain and suffering, or they can be punitive. Punitive damages are enacted to deter future actions that could lead to similar deaths, and as a means to punish the person for his or her negligent behavior.
Who can file a wrongful death suit
No matter what state you live in, spouses and children are permitted to file suit provided other criteria are met. When it comes to other relatives, it typically depends on which state you live in. In Texas, parents are allowed to file suit, while grandparents and siblings are not allowed to file. State laws vary quite a bit, so you must enter into the process well-informed. Your attorney can provide more information based on the details of your specific case.