When a family loses a loved one because of someone else’s negligence, they are left with overwhelming grief as well as a financial deficit. After all, they are dealing with a loss of income while medical and funeral bills pile up by the hour. However, if your loved one was killed due to a negligent act by another person, you are able to file either a survivor action or a wrongful death claim. Each claim option will provide compensatory damages to the family of the deceased, but they vary in their outlook.
What is Wrongful Death?
A family member can file a wrongful death claim if their loved one was killed as a result of another party’s wrongful action. There are several scenarios in which this may occur including medical malpractice, car accidents or work accidents. In order to bring forth a wrongful death claim, the plaintiff must prove that the death was caused by negligence or malicious intent from another person. They must also prove that the family of the deceased is suffering either financially or emotionally as a result of death and would benefit from compensatory damages. Awarded damages could compensate for the family’s pain and suffering, medical bills, funeral expenses, and even future income that the deceased could have earned.
What is Survivor Action?
A family member can also choose to file a claim for survivor action. Instead of compensating the families for their loss, these damages attempt to provide compensation for the suffering of the deceased. Basically, survivor action awards damage to the deceased’s estate, compensating them for what they would have received if they had survived the accident. This means that the finances are distributed to the estate instead of sent directly to the family members.
Who Can File Wrongful Death Claims?
A wrongful death or survivor action claim must be filed by a representative of the deceased’s estate. These representatives could include immediate or distant family, common law life partners or financial dependents. In some cases, persons unrelated to the deceased can file a claim if they are struggling financially because of the wrongful death.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for Wrongful Death?
Depending on the situation, different parties can be held responsible for wrongful death. In court, the plaintiff must prove that the death was caused as a result of negligence by an at-fault party that had a “duty of care” for the deceased. This is defined as a legal obligation to exercise care and caution when involved in situations that could harm others. For example, drivers operating a motor vehicle have a “duty of care” for others on the road.
Figuring out who is liable for a wrongful death or survival action claim can become extremely complicated, getting help from PIOLETTI PIOLETTI & NICHOLS can give you peace of mind. In many situations, these cases could last several months to over a year. If you’re considering filing one of these claims, you should contact an experienced wrongful death attorney who can ensure you receive the compensation you deserve for the loss of their loved one.