According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 224,935 individuals died from unintentional injuries in 2021. The organization estimated that over 67.8 deaths occur in every 1,000 people. Because of this prevalence, the CDC named unintentional injuries as the fourth leading cause of death in the given year.
With the recurrence of unintentional deaths in the country, the question persists — how can you seek justice and compensation for your loss? Seeking damages for wrongful death is critical to help grieving families cope with the aftermath and financial burden.
At Richman Law Offices, our attorney has extensive experience helping families in the Greater Cincinnati area recuperate compensation for their wrongful death cases. We understand the emotional turmoil of losing a loved one and are committed to securing justice and financial security for our clients in these difficult times.
Understanding Wrongful Death Lawsuits
The first question in many people’s heads is, “What is a wrongful death lawsuit?” In this section, we’ll tackle the legal definition of this case and identify the elements of wrongful death cases.
Definition and Legal Basis
In a nutshell, wrongful death lawsuits are legal actions taken by families of the deceased against a person, company, or other entity that is accountable for their loved one’s death. These cases are based on civil liability laws, and plaintiffs file them to seek economic and non-economic damages.
One essential element of wrongful death cases is negligence. Negligence could be a particular careless action, a flawed manufacturing process, or a medical error. Plaintiffs must prove that the defendant acted negligently and their actions directly caused the death of their loved one.
Eligibility and Parties Involved
Depending on your state of residence, the party liable to file a wrongful death case for the victim could be an immediate family member or a representative of the victim’s estate. In Michigan, the executor or the victim’s representative is responsible for filing a wrongful death lawsuit and informing the family members about the event.
The potential parties involved in a wrongful death claim are the following:
- The defendant: The defendant is the person, company, or entity that caused the victim’s death.
- The plaintiff: The plaintiff is the victim’s immediate family member or legal representative that files a wrongful death lawsuit.
- The insurance company: Insurance companies are often involved because their policies cover the defendant’s civil liability.
Establishing Liability in a Wrongful Death Case
Proving the defendant’s liability is the key to recovering damages in wrongful death lawsuits. Here’s how you can establish their responsibility in your case.
Proving Negligence or Wrongful Actions
As mentioned, negligence is an essential element in every wrongful death case. To prove negligence, you need to consider the following.
- Duty: The defendant was responsible for acting safely and responsibly towards the deceased.
- Breach: The defendant failed to maintain their duty of care, resulting in the victim’s death.
- Causation: The defendant’s breach of duty caused the victim’s death. If caution had been observed, the accident could’ve been avoided.
- Damages: The victim’s death resulted in losses for the family, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, and loss of income.
Let’s look at an example. A surgical doctor has the professional responsibility to conduct a safe operation. However, he carelessly cut the patient open and punctured a vital artery, resulting in death. In this case, the doctor’s negligent actions breached his duty of care and were directly responsible for the death.
Gathering Evidence and Expert Testimony
To prove the elements above, the plaintiff’s party must gather critical evidence and obtain an expert witness to testify in court, if necessary. The types of evidence you should preserve include accident reports, medical records, witness statements, etc.
At Richman Law Offices, our wrongful death attorney can help you thoroughly investigate the case to unearth essential evidence. We also have an extensive network of expert witnesses that can support your claim and establish the defendant’s responsibility.
Seeking Compensation and Justice
Now you have a deeper understanding of what a wrongful death lawsuit is, it’s time to discuss what damages your family could obtain from this case.
Types of Damages
Generally, there are three possible compensation types a plaintiff could recover in a wrongful death case:
- Economic: Economic damages are tangible losses, such as funeral expenses, medical bills, or lost wages.
- Non-economic: Non-economic damages are intangible losses, such as pain and suffering or loss of companionship.
- Punitive: Lastly, punitive damages are awarded to defendants who committed grossly negligent actions. This is commonly awarded in wrongful death cases.
The Role of Richman Law Offices
Harvey A. Richman Esq. — our principal attorney at Richman Law Offices — has over two decades of expertise in personal injury cases, including wrongful death lawsuits. With his decades of experience, he helped numerous families in Greater Cincinnati obtain the justice and financial compensation they deserved.
Our legal team is dedicated to helping families of wrongful death victims recover the compensation they deserve through careful and compelling negotiation. We are committed to holding companies and defendants accountable and obtaining justice for our clients.
Get the Help You Need With Your Wrongful Death Case
Dealing with the untimely death of a family member is a tragic and difficult time. We understand that nothing is more important than keeping your family together, but taking action against the defendant ensures that they can’t get away with their carelessness.
We know that no amount of money could replace your loved one’s life, and we’re here to help you bring the justice your deceased family member deserves. By filing a case against the defendant, you’re preventing any chances that another family will suffer from their negligence.
Contact us now and schedule your case consultation right away.