The death of a loved one brings sadness and may even include financial challenges. If this person dies due to the negligence or deliberate actions of someone else, your grief and other emotions will be even greater. When another person is to blame for this death, a criminal trial may occur. In addition to this, you may file a wrongful death suit. This legal action can help you recover costs and hold the person accountable, even if the individual wasn’t convicted in the criminal proceedings.
Why Seek Wrongful Death Action
The sudden passing of a close family member could leave survivors in peril. Funeral costs and the medical costs in trying to prevent the person from dying can be heavy. Also, the death of this family member could result in the loss of support for others and may have future consequences such as the loss of an inheritance and the loss of enjoyment. A guilty verdict in a criminal court of law will hold the responsible person accountable and may provide a measure of closure for surviving family members. However, this alone may not give the family the emotional and financial help it needs.
Civil courts don’t need as high a standard of proof to find a person responsible for wrongful death. Still, your attorney will look for certain factors to build your case. Mainly, the loved one’s death must have come at another person’s hands because of negligence, neglect or intent to cause harm. Because of this death, if the family members are now in difficult financial circumstances, there is a greater chance that the wrongful death suit will have merit.
Criminal actions such as murder can be valid grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit. It is also common for surviving family members to sue doctors for medical malpractice when a patient dies during surgery or another procedure. Automobile, airplane, and bicycle accidents may also fall under this category if the family’s lawyer can prove that another party was responsible for the death.
Determining the Award
The court will carefully consider every aspect of the wrongful death case. A judge will look at the defendant’s actions and whether he or she was responsible. The court will also assess the resulting financial burden the family faces, as well as pain and suffering awards due to loss of enjoyment and companionship with the deceased.
No one wants to lose a loved one. If a family member died because of someone’s careless actions, discuss your legal options with a wrongful death lawyer.