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What Is A Wrongful Death Lawsuit

April 15, 2016

What is a wrongful death lawsuit, and how can you go about filing one? Wrongful deaths are deaths that take place due to the negligence or 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 this article, we’ll be going over all the details you need to know on wrongful death lawsuits.

How Wrongful Death Lawsuits Work

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 involves a human, 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.

What Qualifies As a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Numerous conditions can lead to a wrongful death case.

When a victim who may have legally brought a personal injury claim against another party passes away as a result of the defendant’s negligent behavior, wrongful death claims may become relevant. This could occur in a number of circumstances, such as the following:

  • Intentional Murder: A wrongful death claim may be appropriate if someone murders another person on purpose. For instance, the offender will be charged with a crime if they murder the victim. Also, the victims’ families have the right to file wrongful death cases in civil court against the defendant. In contrast to the criminal case, the wrongful death case is a civil matter.
  • Medical Malpractice: A wrongful death claim may be made against the doctor and other medical care providers involved under established medical malpractice statutes if a doctor fails to diagnose the condition that led to a patient’s death. There is also a case, if the doctor provides the victim with negligent care and the patient dies as a result of their carelessness.
  • Automobile Accidents: A wrongful death case may be appropriate if a person is killed in an auto accident and it is determined by investigators that the driver who caused the accident acted negligently while operating the vehicle. Driving negligently while intoxicated, disobeying traffic regulations, and reckless driving are a few examples.

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 damage you can claim. If malicious or serious wrongdoing resulted in the death, then it can result in the jury awarding compensation on top of pecuniary losses.

What is Pennsylvania’s Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations?

The statute of limitations sets a deadline for how long you have after your loved one’s passing to submit a wrongful death claim. The statute of limitations for wrongful death claims in Pennsylvania is two years from the date of death. So, the claim must be made before the statute of limitations expires, failing which the court can decide not to hear the wrongful death case at all. However, in rare circumstances, there may be an exception to this rule. Anybody seeking compensation should speak with a knowledgeable Pennsylvania wrongful death attorney to see how the statute of limitations can apply to their particular claim.

What Is The Difference Between Wrongful Death And Negligence?

These examples and definitions are the best ways to comprehend the two concepts

Negligence = Liability: Accidents occur as a result of careless behavior, and negligence relates to the standard of proof required to recover compensation. The primary point is fault, which is characterized as a violation of the requirement to exercise reasonable care under the law. Drivers may violate their obligation, for instance, by speeding, driving while intoxicated, failing to stop at a red light, or failing to yield.

Wrongful Death = Legal Remedy: Negligence is the type of culpability that causes accidents, thus, when negligence results in a fatality, the surviving family members have a legal remedy in the form of a wrongful death case. In other words, you might have a case if a loved one passed away as a result of the negligence of another person or organization.

Wrongful Death Lawsuit Settlements Average Amount

Due to the fact that every case is unique and has a different outcome, it is challenging to estimate the typical settlement amount for wrongful death claims. Also, there are no statistical resources for estimating the typical compensation in wrongful death cases.

A lawyer from our firm can examine your wrongful death claim, however, to assist you in deciding how much compensation to seek in your case. The compensation you may be eligible for depends on the specifics of your case and the magnitude of your losses.

While attorneys cannot assure you that you will receive a certain sum, they can evaluate a variety of factors to support your claim for just compensation.

These factors could consist of:

  • Age of the Decedent
  • Potential future earnings of the decedent
  • The decedent’s hospital bills and other costs associated with their injury-related death, including available insurance policy coverage and its limits

The intent of wrongful death claims, which must be taken into account by insurance companies and juries, is to support the victim’s loved ones for as long as the decedent would have supported them had they lived a full life. Settlements might range from a few thousand dollars to several million dollars, as personal wealth is a factor in determining this sum.

How Do You Protect Yourself and Win a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Wrongful death lawsuits can be emotionally draining and cumbersome to deal with. However, there are a few steps you and your lawyer can take to get the best outcome. Here are a few

  • Evidence of Intention: Evidence that there was a family depending on that person is frequently helpful in wrongful death lawsuits that demonstrate an intention. The case has a special resonance with a jury when someone is killed unlawfully and they were supporting a family. They are more likely to discover that the family that is now without a breadwinner is owed a sizable compensation.
  • Evidence of negligence: When there is actual negligence involved, there is frequently proof of wrongful death as well. This is most likely to occur when a workplace accident occurs, a public servant makes a mistake, or a safety problem is ignored. It is simpler to assign responsibility for a wrongful death to a party when the death was obviously caused by another party who should have known better. For instance, if you are at work and discover someone operating machinery without a license or the appropriate training, that person is at fault. The workplace is negligent if it didn’t install safety devices to protect you or any other employee from such equipment.
  • A lawyer to work your case: You must ensure that you can obtain the results you need in a prospective wrongful death case. You need a lawyer who understands how to put your case together if you want to receive the outcome that you and your family deserve. To help you win the lawsuit, a lawyer can make sure you have all the data from the autopsy, police records, or witness testimony. They’ll also require facts about your finances and family to help create a compelling argument that a jury can identify with.

We hope you found this guide useful to knowing more about what goes on in a wrongful death lawsuit. If you need legal assistance in a potential case, do not hesitate to reach out to Hoyt & Hoyt.

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