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September 22, 2021

How Wrongful Death Claims Work

If you lose a loved one due to another person's negligence, no amount of money can heal your emotional pain. Nevertheless, a wrongful death claim may help you obtain compensation and justice so you can move forward with your life.

The death of a loved one is a tragic experience. However, it can be more distressing when the cause of your loved one's death was a preventable incident. Filing a wrongful death claim can help the deceased person's close relatives get compensated for their grief and sorrow.


What is a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a lawsuit against a person or a company who caused another person's death through negligent, reckless or intentional acts.

Although it involves the loss of a person's life, wrongful death differs from cases such as murder or homicide. A wrongful death claim is not a criminal case wherein it seeks to punish the defendant. Instead, it's a civil lawsuit that aims to compensate the decedent's surviving family for their grief and sorrow.

How Wrongful Death Claims Work

The Elements of Wrongful Death

There are four key elements that should be present in a wrongful death claim:

  1. Negligence - There must be proof that the defendant's recklessness, carelessness, or negligent actions caused the death of a loved one.
  2. Breach of Duty - The defendant must owe a duty of care towards the victim. Duty of care means that you are legally obligated to avoid actions or inactions that can be reasonably foreseen to cause harm to a person. For example, a doctor has a duty to provide proper medical attention to their patients, or a car driver must follow traffic rules and drive responsibly. Additionally, there should be proof that the duty of care was breached.
  3. Causation - There should be proof that the defendant's negligence caused the death of a loved one.
  4. Damages - The death of the victim must be proven to generate quantifiable damages. This includes:
  • Hospital and medical expenses
  • Funeral costs
  • Burial costs
  • Loss of income and potential income
  • Loss of protection, guidance, and inheritance
  • Pain and suffering of the victim prior to their death

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

The people who can file a wrongful death claim may vary from state to state. Even though you are close with and deeply love the decedent, it does not automatically qualify you for compensation.

In most cases, you must be a close relative of the deceased person to file a wrongful death claim. These usually include the decedent's spouse, children, or parents.

In some states like Florida, the court will require a Personal Representative to file the wrongful death claim. This person technically represents the estate of the deceased person. And any action or decision they make is for the benefit of the decedent.


How Can a Personal Injury Lawyer Help?

A wrongful death claim can be complicated. Many special factors determine who's eligible for the compensation. Additionally, you'll need solid and convincing evidence to prove the elements of the claim. That's why you need to speak with a personal injury lawyer that works on wrongful death claims to help you understand your rights. Moreover, an experienced lawyer can also help build your case and gather the evidence you might need.

So if you lost a loved one due to another person's negligence or want to understand better how a wrongful death claim works, call Attorney John C. Murrow at (813) 999-4950 for a free consultation.


The blog published by John C. Murrow Law is available for informational purposes only and is not considered legal advice on any subject matter. By viewing blog posts, the reader understands there is no attorney-client relationship between the reader and the blog publisher. The blog should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney, and readers are urged to consult their own legal counsel on any specific legal questions concerning a specific situation.


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