What Is A Wrongful Death Case?
In legal terms, wrongful death is defined as a death that happens as the legal fault of another. That is, that someone else is entirely liable for the person’s death. It could be because of a car accident, a malpractice case, or because of a mechanical failure. How the death happened doesn’t matter, as long as the deceased wasn’t the one at fault for their death.
Who Can Bring a Wrongful Death Case?
Only the family of the deceased can bring a wrongful death case. They are the only people with the legal standing to claim to be injured because of the death. In most states, family counts as immediate family such as spouses, children, or parents. Some states also allow life partners or common-law spouses to bring the case. Fewer states will allow more extended family members to bring the case. The best way to find out if a person has the right to bring a case is to see a personal injury lawyer from a firm like Story Law Office.
What Damages Can Be Brought in a Wrongful Death Case?
The person bringing the suit can seek several kinds of damage. They can include things like the loss of companionship because of a dead spouse. They can also claim damages because of loss of future wages, especially if the person was the primary wage-earner. Other kinds of damage include things like loss of inheritance and medical costs.
The judge and any jury will decide how big any award will be. Things like the health and age of the deceased will tie into how much the person bringing the case is awarded for their damages.
Can a Wrongful Death Suit Be Brought in a Criminal Case?
Yes, it can. The accused doesn’t even have to be found guilty. The rules governing criminal and civil cases are different. In a criminal case, the person has to be guilty without a shadow of a doubt. In a civil case, there only needs to be a preponderance of evidence to show that the accused person is legally responsible for the death. An example of this is the O.J. Simpson case. O.J. Simpson was acquited in the deaths of Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. However, Goldman’s family was able to bring a wrongful death suit against Simpson, and win. It didn’t matter that Simpson was acquitted in a criminal case, there was enough evidence for the case to be successful in a civil court.
Wrongful death cases can allow the family members of someone who has died to seek some restitution for that death.