If someone succumbs to death due to an injury caused by the misconduct or negligence of another person, the survivors have right to sue the suspected for wrongful death. Such a lawsuit is aimed at seeking punishment for the wrongdoer as well as receiving compensation for the deceased’s loss of earning and funeral expenses.
A wrongful death claim results in the event of a person’s death due to other’s fault. The wrongful death cases cover a broader expanse and involve intriguing complications.
Wrongful death laws are not same across all states in the USA. However, they clearly define which person to file a wrongful death case against. The same laws also state if there should be any limit to damages or an award. The original intention of creating wrongful death statutes was to provide financial assistance to the survivors who were dependent on the deceased.
Who Are Allowed To File a Lawsuit for Wrongful Death?
Depending on the wrongful death statute in a particular state, anyone from the surviving spouse, children, parents to any immediate family member can file a lawsuit. Every state in the USA has a specific set of statutes that clearly define the procedures for taking wrongful death actions.
The personal representative takes actions for personal injuries, conscious suffering including pain or inflammation and expenses borne to save the decedent’s life before the person breathed his/her last. The damage awards ensued from these actions go to the estate and may be distributed among different parties according to the decedent’s will.
Sometimes, wrongful death suits follow criminal trials. Though similar evidences are produced both in wrongful death suits and criminal trials, the former is often held to an inferior standard of proof.
How to Prove
It is important to prove beyond doubt that a wrongful death took place and the suspected person is responsible for the incident. For that purpose, it is important to establish the followings:
- Death of a human being
- Death caused due to other’s negligence or with an intention to cause injury
- Financial penury of the surviving family members after the person’s death
- Hiring someone who will represent the decedent’s estate
There are different yardsticks to assess the damages caused by a wrongful death. Pecuniary injury is the main damage suffered by the surviving family members after such an unfortunate death. The term ‘pecuniary injury’ or ‘financial injury’ is used in a broader sense and includes loss of earning, work, support and the lost chance of inheritance as well as medical bills and funeral expenses. As suggested by most laws, a just amount is offered as damage awards to compensate for the financial injuries suffered after the decedent’s death. Last but not the least, a damage award also includes the total amount of interest accruing from the date of the person’s death.
Why to Hire a Portland Wrongful Death Lawyer
Most wrongful death lawsuits are settled outside of the court and through negotiations between the two parties representing the plaintiff and defendant. The lawyers try to reach a settlement to avoid time-consuming and expensive trials. As an experienced lawyer can strike a better deal for his client, it is always important to be represented by a professional having specialization in the field.