When a person dies due to someone else’s wrong action, which usually refers to wrongful conduct or negligence, the survivors of the deceased have a legal right to sue the wrongdoer for a wrongful death claim.
Most wrongful death claims are filed in the event of criminal trials, which involve the burden of similar evidence but substandard of proofs. Regardless, a person found legally responsible for wrongful death may or may not be convicted of a crime related to the death in question. An example might clear the doubts and clarify the point. Actor and ex-soccer player O.J.Thompson was declared “not guilty” in 1994 because the prosecution failed to prove his guilt beyond doubt. But he was found guilty of the wrongful death of two victims in civil court because the plaintiffs had a preponderance of evidence in support of his involvement.
A wrongful death lawsuit may only be filed by the person who represents the victim’s estate. Every state in the country has its own civil “wrongful death statute” or a set of statutes. These actually establish or elaborate on the procedures of the necessary actions for wrongful death claims. A wrongful death claim covers personal injury, pre-death pain and suffering, medical expenses incurred before death. The compensation or damage awards, decided by the court for these actions, go to the estate and according to the decedent’s will, may be distributed among different parties.
Different Components of Wrongful Death Lawsuits
If you want to bring a wrongful death claim, it must have the following points:
- The death of a person has resulted from another party’s negligence or intentional action to cause harm.
- The survivors of the deceased, who were financially dependent on the victim, are now experiencing monetary menopause after the death.
- A person has been appointed to represent the victim’s estate.
A wrongful death claim may emanate from several circumstances listed as follows:
- Medical malpractice has caused the decedent’s death.
- Occupational exposure to the substances or conditions hazardous ĺfor health.
- Death during an activity under supervision.
- Criminal behavior
An Important Point to remember is though there are strict statutes of limitations to file a wrongful death lawsuit, the ‘discovery rule’ allows the plaintiff to file the claim later in case, the value of wrongful actions was not found out until later.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
Financial loss is the main parameter to measure the damages resulting from a wrongful death. “Pecuniary Injuries”, as interpreted by the court, include the sudden stagnancy in financial support, services, lost income, lost prospect of promotion, loss of inheritance, medical bills and funeral expenses. According to most laws, damage awards for wrongful deaths should be fair and square and the compensation should cover the pecuniary injuries caused by the decedent’s death.
Determining Pecuniary Loss
To determine the pecuniary loss or damages, the following factors are taken into consideration:
- The decadent’ death,
- His/her income,
- The victim’s life expectancy,
- His/her medical condition and history,
- The person’s intelligence.
It is a simple and straightforward way to determine pecuniary damages but it often involves complications in different layers.
Choose the most competent professional from Miami wrongful death attorney to present a strong case and prove beyond any reasonable doubt that the defendant’s wrongful action caused death to the decedent.