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Wrongful Death Lawsuits: A Beginner’s Guide

Posted on October 15th, 2020 by Oddo & Babat, P.C.

Wrongful Death Lawyer

The sudden death of a loved one can be a devastating blow, but what happens when that death was caused by someone else’s negligence? Medical bills, funerary expenses, and other costs can skyrocket, leaving you with not only a terrible feeling of grief but massive debt as well. Filing a wrongful death lawsuit may help you recover financially from this terrible time, and understanding what might be involved can give you peace of mind as you move forward with building your case.

About Wrongful Death Lawsuits 

There are several different actions individuals might take upon the death of a loved one when the death was caused by another, including wrongful death actions and wrongful death lawsuits. Each is different in that actions compensate the estate of the deceased and wrongful death lawsuits compensate the deceased’s family members. You may bring about this type of lawsuit upon proof of several conditions, including:

  • Being financially dependent upon the decedent
  • If you are the dead person’s spouse 
  • If you are related by blood to the decedent

You might also be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit upon the loss of an unborn fetus, such as if it occurred in a car accident that was caused by the negligence of another.

Identifying Those Responsible 

As you work with an attorney to identify those responsible for your loved one’s death and put a value to your case, it can be helpful to gather documents to help prove responsibility. Collect copies of police reports, insurance company findings and witness testimony. The more information you can gather, the stronger your case may be. For example, if the owner of a bar served an underaged motorist and killed your loved one while driving drunk, you could sue both parties. You may want to ask your attorney what other types of evidence may be admissible in court.

Recovering Damages 

There are a variety of damage types you can list within your wrongful death lawsuit. Depending on the details of the case, you can include medical bills such as emergency care, the cost of burial or cremation of your loved one, property damage and pain and suffering costs, which are often known as punitive damages. These are meant to punish the defendant for particularly negligent actions that caused your loved one’s death. You may want to remember that unlike other portions of your award, punitive damages are taxable in most states.

The pain of losing a loved one over a negligent accident can feel overwhelming, but you do not have to endure it alone. Contact a wrongful death lawyer, like Patterson Bray, today for further information and assistance.


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