When someone dies due to the negligence, carelessness or willful intent of another person or company, certain persons can file a wrongful death lawsuit. These are personal injury lawsuits. They are extremely complicated cases and, most often, individuals obtain legal representation. Some attorneys specialize in wrongful death lawsuits.
The statutes involved in wrongful death cases vary state by state. For instance, the state determines the amount of damages available for recovery. Also, the state decides the timeframe in which the case can be brought. It is always at least a year but, in many areas, is longer and depends upon the circumstances of the death.
A wrongful death can result from assault, reckless or impaired driving, medical malpractice, unsafe premises or unsafe products. There are other situations that can be deemed wrongful death. Though notoriously hard to prove, there are cases which allege wrongful death when someone commits suicide. In these circumstances, it is often alleged that the perpetrator inflicted so much emotional harm against the victim that the victim chose to kill herself.
It also varies by state as to who can file a wrongful death case. Most often, a spouse is legally able to claim wrongful death. If there is no spouse, a parent of the deceased’s child can file of the child’s behalf and sometimes the deceased’s adult children file. If none of these persons exist, close family members are sometimes allowed to file. The person or persons who initiates a wrongful death lawsuit is not always the one, or only one, who benefits from a monetary payout. There are specific regulations regarding who is the legal beneficiary.
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