A wrongful death claim is brought about by surviving dependents and beneficiaries of a deceased victim. This cause of action arises from the death of the victim. The grounds for claim are that the victim died due to negligence, willful wrongdoing, or other liability of the defendant’s conduct. As a result of the defendant’s wrongdoing, the surviving beneficiaries and dependents are entitled to compensation by way of monetary damages.
Every state in the country has in place wrongful death statutes which are unique to its jurisdiction. In most states for a wrongful death attorney representing the heirs to succeed in such a lawsuit, the following will have to be proven:
That negligence or wrongful conduct by another was the cause of death
The justification for the amount of damages claimed by the heir’s
In some states the following order of precedence of legal heirs applies:
Heading the list are the surviving spouse and children of the deceased as well as any surviving issue of a deceased child of the decedent. These survivors have a right to make a claim ‘jointly or severally’. This means the single claim for damages is shared.
Parents, siblings, children of deceased siblings, grandparents and their descendants follow next in that order.
Last in line are any minors who resided with the decedent and who were supported to the extent of 50% while the victim was alive. The minor should have been part of the victim’s household or resident there for at least 180 days preceding the victim’s death.
Wrongful death lawsuits can be difficult at times because the defendants put up a vigorous defense proving a) their innocence of the charges and b) that the victim was also negligent and wholly or at least partly to blame for the death. The defendant in many cases comes forward for an out-of-court settlement to avoid a trial.