Personal Injury Lawyer
Losing a loved one is about the most difficult thing a person can experience. However, when your grief is also compounded with anger because someone’s negligence led to the untimely death of your loved one, then your emotional response is hard to define. When such an incident occurs, you are left with a desire to seek damages and to make the responsible party pay for the pain and suffering experienced by your loved one and yourself. Wrongful death claims were designed for this reason, but they were not always available.
When the United States was first established, the legal system bore a striking resemblance to the English practices of common law. Wrongful death claims were not permitted under common law because the courts viewed the victim as the one who died. Therefore, no other party could claim duress or injury because the party physically injured was deceased. However, as the US became more independent, defining its own structures and regulations, the judicial branch recognized that death affected more than the decedent. States began enacting wrongful death statutes to allow grieving families a chance to seek restitution for their losses.
Defining the Claim
Simply put, a wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit brought against a negligent party on behalf of the decedent and their family. These suits can only be brought by surviving family members or beneficiaries of the decedent. Also, a wrongful death claim must meet the burden of proof, showing harm or duress caused by the untimely passing of your loved one.
Meeting the Burden of Proof
While every wrongful death claim is different, they are all generally based around financial losses and recovery. However, to even file a lawsuit, you will likely need to prove the following:
- Negligence or strict liability
- Presence of beneficiaries, spouse or dependents
- Monetary loss and/or hardship
All Laws Are Not Created Equal
The states control the regulations for wrongful death lawsuits. Therefore, you will need to investigate the specifics for a claim in your state. However, as most states permit such legal action, as long as you can prove the four elements above, you should be able to move forward with litigation.
Anytime a loved one passes away, it is difficult to pull your life back together. However, when your loved one is taken from you because of the negligence of another, you have a rate to some form of restitution. If you are interested in discussing your options, then contact a personal injury lawyer in Bronx, NY.
Thanks to Okun, Oddo & Babat, P.C. for their insight into personal injury claims and understanding your wrongful death case