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Understanding how a wrongful death claim works

Wrongful death claims can be challenging for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that each involves the loss of a family member or loved one. A wrongful death lawsuit arises when the family of a lost loved one brings a claim for damages against the negligent party responsible for the wrongful death of their loved one. Fatal accidents are one of a number of different circumstances that result in a wrongful death that may lead to a wrongful death claim.

Depending on the circumstances, fatal car accidents, fatal truck accidents, fatal boating accidents and even fatal workplace accidents may all result in wrongful death actions on behalf of the family of the lost loved one. Parties that may bring a wrongful death claim for damages can include immediate family members, such as a spouse and children or the parents of an unmarried victim; financial dependents and domestic partners; distant family members in some circumstances or the parents of infant children.

There are, of course, significant losses associated with a wrongful death. Damages can vary depending on the situation but can include lost earnings of the victim; loss of prospective inheritance; compensation for the loss of companionship and consortium; medical expenses; funeral and burial expenses; and pain and suffering damages, as well as other damages depending on the circumstances.

The basic goal of a wrongful death claim is to establish the careless or negligent behavior of the responsible party that led to the death of the loved one. Negligent drivers, and a variety of other parties depending on the circumstances, can face a wrongful death claim for damages. Wrongful death claims are intended to help family members and loved ones of victims of fatal accidents; however, it is important to keep in mind that these claims can also be complex and that time limits can also apply. For this reason, family members should be familiar with the protections available to them through a wrongful death claim.

Source: bsfdea.com, "What is a Wrongful Death?" Accessed April 18, 2016

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