Losing a loved one is a heart-wrenching experience, no matter the cause. However, it becomes even more devastating when the death is a result of someone else’s actions — especially something that could have been prevented in the first place.
In such tragic circumstances, the law allows for recourse through wrongful death lawsuits.
Wrongful death lawsuits are some of the most emotionally charged cases in the legal field. They arise when a person’s death is caused by the negligence or other wrongful actions of another party. Understanding who bears the financial responsibility in these cases is crucial for those seeking closure and reparation. Moreover, it is a step towards pursuing justice and due compensation for the surviving family members or representatives of the deceased.
Fully understanding who bears the financial responsibility in such cases and taking actual legal action can be complex. Both can put greater stress and hardship on already grieving family members.
Thankfully, families do not have to navigate these intricate legal waters alone. Working with a reliable wrongful death lawyer can make the process significantly smoother. In the Greater Cincinnati area, Richman Law Offices stands as a trusted name in personal injury law, guiding and supporting families through these difficult times.
Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The first step to pursuing justice for wrongful death is understanding exactly what “wrongful death” means and the legal basis for wrongful death lawsuits. This information can help ensure that you have rightful and legal claims to pursue such actions. Moreover, having a full understanding can help you strengthen your case.
A wrongful death lawsuit is a special type of personal injury claim. These legal claims are filed or brought against individuals or entities who have caused the death of another person through their negligence or intentional wrongdoing.
Wrongful death can arise from different scenarios. These may include the following:
- Car accidents
- Workplace accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product defects or liability
- Dog bites or pet animal attacks
Wrongful death lawsuits may also be pursued as recourse following intentional acts like murder or assault and battery resulting in fatalities.
Regardless of the type of wrongful death, a wrongful death lawsuit is grounded in civil law. The purpose of these lawsuits is to hold the responsible parties accountable and provide financial support to surviving family members for the loss, pain, and hardship they have suffered.
Due to the complexity of the legal process, proper legal representation is crucial for determining whether you have a case or not and answering the question: “Who pays for a wrongful death lawsuit?” An experienced attorney can navigate the complexities, gather evidence, and build a strong case on behalf of the grieving family.
Parties Involved in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Wrongful death lawsuits typically involve two main parties: the plaintiffs and the defendants.
- Plaintiffs: These parties are the loved ones, close family members, or representatives of the deceased. They are the ones filing the lawsuit and seeking compensation for their loss.
- Defendants: These are the parties deemed at fault or responsible for the death. They can be individuals, companies, organizations, or other entities whose actions led to the fatal incident.
Another party that may be involved in such lawsuits is insurers. Insurance companies can play a significant role, as they often pay for a wrongful death lawsuit. Depending on the terms of the defendant’s policy, the insurance company may be responsible for covering the full financial damages awarded to the plaintiffs.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
State laws may determine the eligibility to file for wrongful death claims. In general, though, eligibility to file a wrongful death claim is typically limited to close family members or representatives of the deceased’s estate. Often, the ones making this type of claim are the surviving spouses, partners, parents, children, or other immediate family members.
In cases where multiple potential plaintiffs exist, priority is often given based on the closeness of the relationship to the deceased. This prioritization ensures that those who were most directly impacted by the loss have the opportunity to seek compensation. However, there are also cases where distant family members or individuals who were financially dependent on the deceased may also be eligible to file a claim.
The Financial Damages in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The financial damages that can be claimed in wrongful death lawsuits are intended to compensate the surviving family members for their losses and the economic impact of the deceased’s death.
Plaintiffs can claim various financial damages in a wrongful death lawsuit, including:
- Medical Expenses: The medical costs related to the deceased’s final injury or illness, including hospital bills and treatment expenses.
- Funeral and Burial Costs: The expenses incurred for arranging the funeral and burial services.
- Loss of Financial Support and Income: Compensation for the financial support and income that the deceased would have provided to the family had they survived.
- Loss of Inheritance: The value of the assets and inheritance the family would have received if the deceased had lived a full life.
- Emotional Suffering and Loss of Companionship: Also called consortium, these damages account for the emotional pain, suffering, and loss of companionship or moral support experienced by the surviving family members.
In cases where negligence or intentional wrongdoing is also deemed a criminal act, it may also be possible to claim punitive damages.
Determining Liability: Who Pays for a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Determining liability in a wrongful death case requires establishing fault. This step involves providing proof that the defendant’s actions directly caused the death, such as witness testimonies or medical records. Once fault is established, the responsible party or parties become liable for the financial damages.
Multiple defendants can be found liable. If so, each defendant will be responsible for the damages in proportion to their degree of fault.
Many wrongful death lawsuit cases are paid by insurance providers, particularly for cases involving vehicle accidents. However, in cases where the defendant is not insured or their policy limit is lower than the damages they need to pay, the individual will pay for the wrongful death lawsuit.
The Role of Richman Law Offices in Wrongful Death Lawsuits
Unlike other personal injury cases, wrongful death lawsuits are much more challenging to navigate on your own. Having a compassionate and experienced legal team by your side can make a huge difference.
Richman Law Offices is dedicated to helping clients obtain justice and fair compensation, serving bereaved families throughout the Greater Cincinnati area. We help families understand complicated state laws, conduct thorough investigations, collect crucial evidence, prove fault, and skillfully negotiate on behalf of our clients.
Our lawyers have the skills and experience to put together a strong case in your favor. We will fight aggressively to ensure you receive the financial compensation you are rightfully due.
Wrongful death lawsuits are essential for seeking justice and compensation when a loved one’s life is cut short due to someone else’s negligence or wrongdoing.
Understanding the financial responsibility in these cases is vital for the surviving family members to establish fault and claim damages. Although claiming compensation will never bring back a life lost, it can go a long way toward helping grieving families recover and rebuild their lives.
If you are facing this kind of legal trouble or wondering whether you have a rightful wrongful death claim, contact Richman Law Offices. Our wrongful death lawyers stand ready to provide professional and compassionate legal assistance.
Call (513) 621-0000 today.