It is everyone’s worst nightmare – a friend or family member has been killed due to someone else’s negligence, or even through deliberate action. Now, not only do you have to go through the grieving process and settle their affairs, you must deal with the unfairness of it all. Fortunately, since someone else was responsible for the death of your loved one, you can solicit the assistance of a lawyer and file a wrongful death lawsuit. You may be wondering; how do lawyers help with wrongful death cases? What damages can I expect to recover if my lawsuit is successful?
Wrongful death occurs when someone dies, and another person is at fault. This is commonly seen after criminal trials, even if the defendant is found not guilty. The standard of proof in wrongful death cases is lower than that needed for a criminal conviction. Often, wrongful death occurs due to:
Commonly, financial injury is the main component of a wrongful death suit. Financial damages can include funeral expenses, medical expenses, and loss of support. The amount of financial damages that the guilty party is liable for also accrue interest from the date of death. Wrongful death lawsuits can result in a jury trial, and while the jury may recommend a certain amount of damages, the judge has the final say. Monetary amounts of damages can vary based on the severity of the crime and the current or future earning power of the victim.
Other damages that can be recovered are what we call survival actions and are commonly known as pain and suffering. Survival actions can include how severe the victim’s pain was and how long they suffered. While wrongful death lawsuits are similar in many states, the one exception is in the state of Alabama.
An Alabama wrongful death lawsuit can only be filed by the executor of the decedent’s estate. In addition, the only damages that can be requested are punitive. That means that they serve to punish the person who committed the act resulting in the death of another. The only cases considered by the state of Alabama are those where damages could have been awarded if the victim had not passed away.
Regardless of which state you reside in, you should get the advice of an attorney before filing a wrongful death suit. Lawsuits handled by experienced attorneys have a much greater chance of being successful.
For more information about wrongful death, visit: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrongful_death_claim and https://legal-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Wrongful+Death