Do you have a family member who died as a result of improper medical treatment or injuries sustained in a car accident? Consider filing a wrongful death claim to recover the losses you have incurred. Turn to the law office ofFrancis E. Sweeney, Jr., Esq., LLC in Cleveland, OH today for legal support.
Wrongful Death lawsuits allege a person was killed as a result of the negligence (or other liability) of the defendant. In such cases, the surviving dependents or beneficiaries are entitled to monetary damages – based on the defendant's negligence.
Such claims are different from a normal negligence lawsuit, which is filed by the person injured for the resulting damages. States, over time, passed "Wrongful Death statutes" that provide compensation for persons who may have been damaged from the death of the victim. The states also wanted to set an example and provide an incentive to act carefully and safely. All fifty states permit Wrongful Death claims to be litigated on behalf of dependents and beneficiaries.
There are certain defined limitations (i.e., Statutes of Limitation), which limit the amount of time you have within which you can bring forth a claim.
"Wrongful Death Statutes" vary from state to state but essentially they follow the same legal logic.
Wrongful Death claims are usually based on several key conclusions: in whole or in part, the death occurred because of the conduct of the defendant, and the defendant was clearly negligent or strictly liable for the victim's death. Also, the death has caused monetary damages, and there is a surviving spouse, children, beneficiaries or dependents.
Generally, immediate family members—surviving spouses, children, and parents—file Wrongful Death claims. Minors, up to their 18th birthday, may require a legal guardian to represent their interests in court. In certain states, the group of plaintiffs may also include grandparents, legal dependents, or members of an extended family.
Medical and funeral expenses associated with the death
Loss of the death victim's anticipated earnings – extending into the future until time of retirement or death
Loss of pension, medical coverage, and other benefits, as a result of the death
Loss of companionship, protection, and care to the survivors
Loss of inheritance caused by the untimely death
Mental anguish, pain, and suffering to the survivors
Some damages may be barred or restricted by certain state statutes. Some damages may be difficult to prove and can be considered speculative by certain courts. They may be restricted or struck from the claim. Often, for example, punitive damages may require higher degrees of proof.
Plaintiffs may recover interest calculated from the time of death, from the time of filing the lawsuit or from the time the damages were incurred. Damages for future loss (such as anticipated earnings) will be reduced.
Determining the damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be a daunting task. Seek guidance from attorneys who are knowledgeable and experienced in dealing with wrongful death cases. Contact our office immediately for a free consultation. We can also help you with prescription drug overdose deaths and medical malpractice concerns.