When a loved one dies, the emotional toll is one thing. If that death was unnecessary, it’s hard not to be angry. Someone’s error or deliberate act took a life. It’s unfair and causes ripples that can affect a family for years. Finances change. Medical bills become overwhelming. Funeral or memorial costs hit hard when you’re grieving.
If your loved one died because of someone’s mistake or intentional choice, you’re entitled to financial compensation. It won’t bring your loved one back, but it can keep you from also facing severe lifestyle changes due to hardship. Before you file a wrongful death lawsuit, read up on what the requires are and how to get started.
What Are the Top Three Requirements for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Before you consider a wrongful death suit, you need to meet three requirements. If you can’t, it’s unlikely you’ll win. Talk to a personal injury attorney who specializes in wrongful death cases. You should have time to grieve. You shouldn’t have to try to find all of the required proof of another person’s liability on your own. These are the three requirements you must meet.
#1 – Proof the Death Was Caused by Negligence
You have to prove the death was caused by carelessness, a rash decision, or an intentional act. The other party must be completely liable for the death. Examples of negligence are as follows:
A woman goes to the hospital with breathing difficulties and mild chest pains. She’s sent home with an antibiotic and instructions to return if she worsens. Her symptoms increased and she returned but was only given an inhaler. She died a day later. The family learned it was the second doctor’s first day and her medical records hadn’t been checked. They filed a medical malpractice wrongful death lawsuit.
A boy is electrocuted playing outside his apartment after touching a fence while retrieving his football. The apartment owner and manager hired an unlicensed worker to do electrical work. The faulty work caused an exposed wire to touch a metal fence.
#2 – Proof of a Breach of Duty
You have to be able to prove that the defendant violated some form of duty. You need to have evidence that backs your complaint that the defendant is liable for the death because common sense and proper conduct were not followed.
In the first case from above, the doctor who never bothered to check her records for prior visits should have looked at prior tests. Notes from the first examination would have helped the doctor realize there was more going on.
The apartment owner and manager never should have hired a person without an electrician’s license to do electrical work. They have to make sure repairs are done to code and meets state and city regulations.
A drunk driver has a duty to drive legally with a valid license and only when sober. A trucking company has a duty to check the licenses of all its drivers and run drug tests to ensure the drivers are sober. A mechanic has a duty to make correct repairs and not ignore a substantial defect in a vehicle’s equipment in order to save time or money.
#3 – Proof That Family Survivors Experienced Significant Damages or Hardship
You do have to prove that your loved one’s death is causing damage. Depending on your state, losses may include the entire value of one’s lifetime or the financial burden the remaining family faces in terms of funeral costs, medical expenses, and the pain of the loss. This will vary from one state to the next.
Seek Expert Advice Before You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In Iowa, only the administrator of the estate, a spouse, parents, or children can file a wrongful death lawsuit. If your loved one died before establishing an estate administrator, the court may require one to be named prior to filing the lawsuit.
You have two years from the date of death to file a claim. You can sue for medical expenses, lost wages and benefits, property damage, loss of companionship, pain and suffering, and funeral/burial expenses. There’s no telling how much the court may award you. If you hire a personal injury lawyer with experience, you stand a better chance at fair compensation.
The burden of proof is on your shoulders. Without legal representation, you may feel overwhelmed. Let the attorneys at Trial Lawyers for Justice aid you in getting justice for your loved one. We’ve had great success in getting substantial verdicts for our clients. One family received $45 million after a drunk driver killed their mom. TL4J is ready to help your family next. Call us at your convenience for a free consultation.