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Learn the Facts about Wrongful Death Claims

July 17th, 2013 Uncategorized

What Is A Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is when a person dies due to the legal fault or negligence of another person or group. Wrongful death cases include all types of fatal accidents including car accidents, slip and fall accidents, as well as complex product liability and medical malpractice claims. Companies, government agencies, and individuals can all be held accountable for causing someone’s death due to negligence, or consciously acting with intent to harm.

If a person is killed in a car accident, can his or her family seek compensation?

If a death was caused by someone else’s negligence, his or her family can seek compensation. Just like all personal injury claims, in wrongful death claims it must be proven that someone else is at fault for the death. If the driver of the other vehicle caused the accident, damages can be sought in court. Even if the person who died was partially at fault, many times damages can still be awarded.

What if the driver who caused the accident was uninsured?

Even in cases where the at-fault driver is not insured or is underinsured, a claim may still be made against the driver. A claim may also be made on the insurance of the driver who died. Many insurance policies now include “uninsured motorist” coverage that helps in situations where the other party may be uninsured. A skilled personal injury attorney will be able to read through the insurance policy and advise you on the best course of action.

Who can be compensated in a wrongful death case?

Written law states who can recover damages in wrongful death claims. Most often spouses and children are entitled to compensation in a wrongful death case. Occasionally in cases where there are no children or spouse, siblings and parents can be entitled to damages.

How are damages determined?

There are several elements that are taken into consideration when calculating damages in a wrongful death case. After medical expenses, the most important factor is usually the financial loss to the survivors. This is followed closely by the extent of emotional damages the survivors are forced to endure. If a father who was the main source of support for his wife and kids died as a result of someone else’s carelessness, his family could be entitled to substantial financial compensation for their loss. If a small child is the victim of a wrongful death, the parents would also be entitled to significant compensation due to their traumatic emotional loss and suffering. A jury may ultimately determine the amount of damages that are appropriate if settlement is not reached before trial.

If someone was killed instantly, could their family still seek compensation for pain and suffering?

Yes they could. The term “pain and suffering” in wrongful death cases also refers to the ongoing pain and suffering that loved ones must endure due to the loss of someone important to them. Of course, in situations where a person did not die instantly but did endure terrible pain, that can also be a factor in determining compensation.

How long does someone have to file a wrongful death claim?

All states have different statutes of limitation that dictate how long you can wait to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If you think that your loved one’s death was caused by someone else’s negligence or carelessness, or as an intentional act, it is very important you contact a skilled personal injury lawyer as soon as you are able. A personal injury attorney will be able to get to the facts and guide you through the process of seeking damages during this difficult time.

Daggett Shuler, Attorneys at Law, principal office is located at 2140 Country Club Road, Winston-Salem, NC  27104. Daggett Shuler handles personal injury claims including serious injuries, automobile accidents, workers’ compensation and social security disability.  If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of accident, call Daggett Shuler for a free confidential consultation at 336-724-1234.

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