What Is Wrongful Death?

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The term wrongful death refers to a situation that occurs when an individual dies due to another entity or person’s misconduct or negligence. When a wrongful death lawsuit is filed, it is a civil action that is completely separate from any criminal prosecution that the person or entity responsible may be facing. One of the primary differences between a criminal case for manslaughter or murder and a civil wrongful death suit is that the standard of proof is lower.

What Are Some Reasons That Wrongful Death Suits May Be Filed?

Some of the circumstances in which the family of a loved one who has died may file a wrongful death lawsuit include criminal activity, product manufacturing defects, toxic torts, motor vehicle accidents, and medical malpractice. Different states have different statutes detailing the procedures and criteria involved in filing a wrongful death case, and sometimes there are agencies that have immunity from criminal prosecution granted by the government. The survivors who are able to file these claims always include parents, children, and spouses of the decedent. In some states, financial dependents and putative spouses may file the claim.

What Can You Sue For in Wrongful Death Cases?

Surviving family members who have suffered harm due to the individual’s death may recover economic damages for the loss of a prospective inheritance, loss of support and income, loss of household, and medical, funeral, and out-of-pocket expenses. Children may also be able to recover damages for loss of parental guidance. Survivors may also sue for noneconomic expenses such as pain and suffering. If the decedent was alive and filed a personal injury lawsuit before they died, survivors may also maintain “survival action” and recover damages for their loved one’s pain and suffering before they died in some cases.

Call on the Professionals

If you have lost a loved one due to another party’s negligence or misconduct, reach out to the trusted team at Shlesinger & deVilleneuve today. You can schedule a free consultation with our compassionate attorneys through our website, or by calling (541) 485-8411.

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