When a person gets hurt due to someone else’s negligence, they may have the right to file a lawsuit. Doing so may get them money towards their medical care and even reimburse them for time lost at work. What happens, however, if someone dies because of a careless act? Is there still a lawsuit to be filed, and who does it? When someone dies, and there is proof that another party is responsible, a wrongful death claim may be warranted. Take a look at some of the circumstances under which this is the appropriate way to proceed.
The Parties Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim
If someone dies, they can no longer actively pursue a case against the parties responsible. It is up to the deceased’s next of kin to take up the mantle and make a claim. If there is no direct relative, like a spouse or child, then a personal representative or the estate administrator can file suit. A claim that started as a personal injury claim can be transferred into a wrongful death suit.
An example of an extreme lack of care resulting in the death of another is murder. When one person kills another intentionally, the guilty party may not only be prosecuted in court, but they may also get sued for wrongful death in civil court. Even if the perpetrator is not convicted of the crime, if there is evidence that they took the life of the deceased, they may still pay up in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Unfortunately, there are times a car crash doesn’t just cause considerable damage to vehicles, it can result in death for one or more parties involved. These injuries are often known as catastrophic. The person found liable for the accident and their insurance company may be on the receiving end of a wrongful death claim.
Mistakes happen in every profession, but when they occur in the healthcare industry, the results can be life-ending. Doctors, nurses and others who render medical care are subject to wrongful death suits when a patient dies, especially if there was a breach in protocol. Hospitals and clinics may also be named in the lawsuit.
No amount of money can bring back a person who dies suddenly. If you have a loved one who is taken prematurely due to someone else’s action or inaction, you may want to consult with a wrongful death attorney to get some guidance and help in the next steps to take.