What Is a Wrongful Death?

Have you ever wondered what a wrongful death is? Wrongful death is a legal term that classifies deaths caused through the fault of others (even if they didn’t intend to cause loss of life). As a loved one who has lost someone due to a fatal accident, you may be entitled to compensation to recover the loss of the deceased’s income or financial contribution to your life.

Who Is Responsible for a Wrongful Death?

Now, nobody should profit from the death of a family member, but you may begin to wonder who can be held responsible for the financial loss that a death in your family causes.

A few groups can be held responsible in a court of law to recompense you for your loss. Note this is not about sending a “guilty party” to prison. It’s about ensuring you don’t suffer more than needed because you lost someone you love (so you don’t have to suffer financially too).

You can sue:

  • The person whose driving cost your loved one’s life in a collision.
  • The company that manufactured a product that caused your loved one’s death.
  • The employer whose unsafe workplace caused the death of an employee (who was your loved one).
  • Government departments didn’t place warning signs on hazardous roads if the hazard caused the death of your family member.
  • The doctor involved in medical malpractice or the hospital that employs that doctor if it caused death.

Proving Wrongful Death

Of course, it’s not as simple as demanding financial compensation once a court rules that your loved one’s death was not through malice or intent but an accident. In the US, you will have to file a civil lawsuit to sue for compensation due to wrongful death, which caused a loss of income or other financial loss.

To do this, you need to prove that you have suffered financial loss, that the loss of life has affected your ability to earn an income due to trauma, or that you should receive compensation for the fault of the guilty party.

You will have to file a wrongful death lawsuit, so you’re likely looking for a “wrongful death law firm” near you to assist you with the legal paperwork and proceedings.

Did You Know?

In most US states, the statute of limitations on filing for wrongful death is two years from the date of death. Still, if you only discover later that your loved one had died due to wrongful death conditions (as in medical malpractice), you have one year after discovering the wrongful death to file for a wrongful death civil suit.

To Win a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When you are spending money to try and win a wrongful death lawsuit, you must prepare for the legal battle that will follow. No employer, medical practitioner, or other party wants to be held accountable for a wrongful death lawsuit.

So the onus of proving the guilty party was negligent and failed at their responsibility to show care toward your loved one falls on you (and your legal team). There are three main facts you and your legal team need to prove to win a civil lawsuit:

  • That the person responsible for the death was responsible for showing care toward your loved one.
  • That the guilty party failed in that care, proving their negligence.
  • And that their negligence led to your loved one’s death.

Famous Wrongful Death Suit

OJ Simpson was acquitted of the murder of his ex-wife and her lover ended with him found guilty of a wrongful death lawsuit that saw the court award the bereaved families $33.5 million in compensation.