Your sister is fond of using pills which aids in weight loss. She has been doing this for years, and her search for cheaper yet effective slimming pills never came to a halt – except when she found one medicine on the Internet. It’s much cheaper than the ones she used before, and since it promised fast results, your sister purchased several bottles. However, after less than a month of using these medicines, your sister died. The doctor informed you that those slimming pills were the reason why your sister’s health deteriorated over time and caused her to lose her life. Because of what happened, you’ve decided to take things legally and file a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the pills for wrongful death. You want to seek justice for your sister’s abrupt death through the lawsuit, and although your goal sounds so simple, you don’t know how to do it successfully.
But First, What Is Wrongful Death?
When someone died or was killed because of the misconduct or negligence of another person, survivors may sue the responsible party for wrongful death. The rationale behind the lawsuit is that it allows the survivors to seek compensation from the person’s passing. When the survivors win the lawsuit, they can be compensated for the loss of their loved one.
- A wrongful death claim occurs when someone dies because of the legal fault of another person or party. For example, if a person died from a car crash as he was riding a vehicle with a drunk driver, the family of the deceased can file for a wrongful death claim against the driver.
- Different states have different statutes when it comes to wrongful death claims and lawsuits. But regardless of the state, wrongful death laws generally define who can sue for the wrongful death and if there are any limits to the award of the damages. Some states may allow children to file for their parent’s wrongful death while some only allow their spouse and parents to do it.
- Wrongful death statutes were originally created to provide financial support to widows and orphans, and the same purpose is still true to this very day.
You should assess if what happened to your sister is indeed a case of wrongful death. Try to remember all the necessary information involved in the case. But keep in mind that just because you “think” your sister was involved in wrongful death, you can immediately demand settlement against the negligent party. You (and your family) still have to follow certain procedures legally in order for you to be fully compensated for the damages involved.
So What Can You Do Legally About Wrongful Death?
For you to be successful in the lawsuit, you should go through a lot of processes – it’s never a straight line from point A to B when you’re about to take things legally. You have to make sure that what you’re doing is legally correct because if not, you’ll end up getting nothing from all of your attempts. To help you with all of that, you should consider what can be done legally about a wrongful death:
Who Can Sue For Wrongful Death?
States laws on wrongful death are established to provide recovery for the family members of the deceased person. But as to who can file for the lawsuit and claim; everything depends on your state’s wrongful death statute. Though, generally, wrongful death lawsuit can be brought by a personal representative of the decedent’s party such as his/her parents and spouse.
To determine who can legally represent your sister in the lawsuit, it’s best if you take the time to know your own state’s statutes on wrongful death. This will save everyone from the stress of not knowing what to do without compromising the chances of winning the case. This should be the very first step that you and your family members should make before actually filing a lawsuit.
How Can You Prove Wrongful Death?
Knowing that a loved one was a victim of wrongful death and proving it in court are two different things, and for you to be successful in your lawsuit battle, providing substantial proof is essential. Regardless of how persistent you are in contesting that your sister had a wrongful death, if you can’t prove your point, nothing will happen.
For you to be successful in bringing a wrongful death in court, the surviving family members (aka plaintiff) should be able to prove the following:
- The passing of a person which is caused by the negligence or intentional actions of another person;
- The survival of the family members who are suffering from monetary injuries because of the person’s passing, and;
- The selection of a personal representative from the plaintiff’s estate.
What Are The Damages Awarded In Wrongful Death Lawsuits?
Once you’re successful in the lawsuit, you and your family can be awarded with different kinds of damages due to your sister’s passing, and these are:
- Understanding damages: These are the damages referring to the financial value of the case.
- Wrongful death damages: Every wrongful death case is unique, but there are standard damages in every lawsuit death case:
- Care of a child;
- Loss of benefits;
- Loss of income;
- Medical bills and funeral costs;
- Punitive damages; and
- Survivor’s pain and suffering.
Filing a lawsuit can be very stressful. The process requires your time, resources and energy, and if you fail to exhaust any of these consistently, chances are, you’ll lose the case, and all of your efforts will be useless – and you don’t want that to happen. To make things easier for you, it’s essential that you know what wrongful death is and what your options are legally when you’re faced with such situation. Being equipped with this kind of information will allow you to determine what to expect and what could be done so the lawsuit can benefit you and your family in the long run. Hiring an attorney with years of experience in a wrongful death lawsuit can also be helpful for you. If you’re in need of legal aid, you can click here for information.
Casey is a law student hoping to one day make it big as a lawyer in New York. She currently works hard writing law articles to help those understand legal topics better. When she’s not studying, she’s out with her friends.