Why You Should File for Wrongful Death
When someone carelessly backs into your car or accidentally throws a baseball through your window, you don’t have to do a lot of soul-searching to come up with reasons to file a lawsuit. There is really only one reason—to be compensated for the cost of repairing or replacing your damaged property and being made whole again.
But when someone else’s negligence results in the death of a close family member, you can never replace the life that has been lost, and no amount of compensation will ever make you whole again. So, what, then, is to be gained by suing the person responsible for the loss of your loved one? What are the benefits of filing a wrongful death lawsuit?
Although your loved one can never be brought back to you, there are some benefits to be gained by filing a lawsuit against the responsible party. Every state recognizes claims for “wrongful death” for the purpose of affording justice for the victim, deterrence to others, and compensation for the victim’s suffering as well as the loss experienced by the victim’s closest family members.
If you have suffered the loss of a loved one as a result of the negligence or intentional act of another person, you may be entitled to compensation on behalf of your loved one and help lessen your own financial burdens related to that loss. In addition to your compensation, however, you also may obtain justice on behalf of your loved one by holding the responsible party accountable for their actions. Additionally, your wrongful death claim may assist in deterring others from similar behaviors that risks the lives of others.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death action is a civil lawsuit that a qualified family member files against a named defendant, whose negligence caused the death of the victim. Although every state has its own wrongful death statute, all state wrongful death claims generally require the plaintiff to prove that:
- A qualified family member died;
- the family member’s death resulted from someone else’s negligence or intentional conduct; and that
- as a result of the wrongful death, one or more surviving family members have suffered a financial loss.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
The surviving family members who are qualified to file a wrongful death lawsuit are defined in each state’s wrongful death statute. The statutes typically prioritize family members’ claims based on how closely they are related to the deceased victim.
The family members typically included as qualified to file a wrongful death claim in most states include a victim’s:
- Spouse (or parent, if the victim is a minor)
- Parent (if the victim is an adult and there is no spouse)
- Nieces and nephews
If there are no such available relatives, the state may allow other categories of relations to file a claim if they can show that they are entitled to an award.
What Are the Benefits of Filing a Wrongful Death Claim?
We at Foster Wallace, LLC, understand that losing a loved one is painful. We know and understand the loss you have suffered. However, as you grieve the loss of your loved one, our goal is to assist you in obtaining any and all relief you may be entitled to under the law that will obtain justice for your loved one, deter others from causing similar pain to other potential victims and families, and compensate you for any financial burden you may suffer as a result of the loss of your family member.
Justice for Your Loved One
When you lose a loved one as a result of the actions of another person, there may or may not be criminal charges brought against the party responsible. Even if criminal charges are filed, the families of victims often are left dissatisfied with the outcome of the criminal case.
A wrongful death suit is an option for grieving families to obtain justice for their deceased loved one and an opportunity to hold the responsible party accountable for their actions. Often, for close family members, financial compensation may be less important than honoring the memory of their loved one by representing their interest to the public and speaking for them in a court of law.
At Foster Wallace, LLC, we respect your desire to represent the interests of your loved one and will work tirelessly to help you obtain justice on behalf of your loved one and your family.
Not only is a wrongful death claim a means of obtaining justice for your loved one, it speaks volumes to others that negligent or intentional behavior that puts the lives of others at risk will not be tolerated or go unaccounted for. The significant damages that can be awarded in wrongful death claims serve as a deterrent to others from participating in behaviors that potentially end in fatality. Such claims demonstrate to others that negligent behavior has consequences not just for victims but for victims’ family members as well.
At Foster Wallace, LLC, we want you help you participate in the process of seeking justice so that you may be comforted by knowing that your efforts to represent your loved one may deter others from causing similar loss to other families.
In addition to the personal and social benefits that extend from filing a wrongful death claim, wrongful death claims also afford close family members the financial support and security they need to help offset the loss of a financial provider for the family.
At Foster Wallace, LLC, we place no price tag on the lives of family members. But we recognize the reality of losing a loved one on whom your family may have depended financially. We also know that a wrongful death lawsuit is a means to provide your family with essential compensation you may need during your time of grief.
For example, the expenses a family may incur as a result of the death of a financial provider may include:
- Medical and hospital bills
- Pain and suffering on the part of your loved one (but not your own grief or bereavement as a result of your loss)
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Lost wages
- Insurance benefits
- Loss of companionship, services, or other support the decedent may have provided to family members during life
In addition to compensation for these expenses, you also may be entitled to punitive damages if, in causing your loved one’s death, the defendant showed complete indifference to, or a conscious disregard for, your loved one’s safety.
Compensation for these damages is not intended to represent the value of the life of your loved one but, rather, to help alleviate the financial burden that the loss of your loved one has caused your family.