The death of a loved one is always tragic. The tragedy is worsened when the cause of death is the negligence of another person. Even if someone can escape criminal prosecution for someone’s death, they may still be liable for other damages. In certain circumstances, family members can file a lawsuit to hold someone responsible for their actions and to protect others from potential harm. The Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. can help people who are thinking about a wrongful death suit. Here are some situations when family members should consider a wrongful death suit on behalf of their loved ones.
It’s tempting to think that all premature deaths are candidates for a wrongful death suit, but that isn’t the case. Wrongful death claims are the result of a situation where the person who died would have been able to sue had they lived. This description may seem broad, but that reflects the many conditions where a wrongful death suit could be appropriate.
Wrongful death suits can be considered for cases where a person dies due to an unsafe environment at a store or workplace. Similarly, fatal car accidents that were caused by negligence are also situations where family members can pursue a wrongful death claim. Product manufacturers can also be held liable if something they make is unsafe, and it leads to the death of a consumer.
Causing the premature death of a patient is the worst kind of medical malpractice. Doctors and health care facilities have a responsibility to provide a certain level of care, which means a wrongful death can also occur due to inaction. If a doctor fails to diagnose a condition, or if the doctor is careless in the level of care provided, a wrongful death action might be possible against the doctor or facility if the patient dies. When choosing an attorney to assist with a wrongful death claim, it’s essential to choose a lawyer who knows how to research the evidence needed to prove a wrongful death claim that’s related to medical malpractice.
Though it’s less common, it’s also possible to seek a wrongful death suit when a victim is intentionally killed. The most famous example of this situation occurred with O.J. Simpson. Though he wasn’t convicted in the criminal case, the families of the victims were able to file civil lawsuits, which they won.
There are rules that dictate who has the right to file a wrongful death claim. It would be inconvenient for the court system if every family member were able to file a separate suit when a relative dies. Usually, the executor of the deceased’s estate is made the representative on behalf of the survivors who suffer damage from the individual’s death. The people being represented in the suit are called the “real parties in interest.” These can include immediate and distant family members, spouses, and other groups.
When a wrongful death suit is successful, real parties in interest may receive compensation for their loss, such as lost wages from the deceased, lost companionship, and funeral expenses. This compensation can help family members who are dealing with the economic effects of an unexpected death. Furthermore, the suit can force changes that can prevent a similar accident from taking the life of another person.
If you’re wondering about a possible wrongful death situation, the Law Firm of Steve Watrel, P.A. can help. We can help you understand the strengths and weaknesses of your case, as well as help you gather the evidence you will need to convince juries. Send us a message online to schedule a free consultation to learn more.