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What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

April 15, 2016

Wrongful deaths are deaths that take place due to negligence or the misconduct of another person. Wrongful death cases often come after a criminal trial, and they do require a standard of proof, although it’s lower than in criminal cases.

In a wrongful death case, there are a few things you must prove. First, you need to show that a human was killed. Unfortunately, the law does not recognize the deaths of pets or animals. Once you establish that your case is about a human, then you need to show that another person’s negligence or intent to cause harm resulted in the death.

You should show how the death has resulted in monetary injuries and make sure to have a representative for the decedent’s estate. This representative may be a family member, or you might have an attorney that helps with this step.

Many situations can lead to a wrongful death case. For instance, criminal behavior like an assault can lead to a wrongful death. Auto or plane accidents can result in deaths of passengers. Even medical malpractice can be taken to court with a wrongful death case.

A few kinds of losses are considered in wrongful death cases. Pecuniary losses are estimates of how much money is lost due to the death of the person. Essentially, how much money would that person have earned and been worth over the course of his or her lifetime?

Punitive damages are another kind of damages you can claim for. If malicious or serious wrongdoing resulted in the death, then it can result in the jury awarding compensation on top of pecuniary losses.

Source: FindLaw, “Wrongful Death Overview,” accessed April 15, 2016

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