A wrongful death occurs when someone dies due to the negligence or bad acts of another person or persons. If someone in your family has died in this manner, you may have a strong wrongful death case. Wrongful death lawsuits are civil actions, not criminal ones. This article takes a look at some of the key information you need to know about this kind of civil suit.
Various types of mishaps can lead wrongful death lawsuits. A very common reason for these types of cases are automobile accidents. For instance, if you lost a loved one in an automobile accident due to poor road maintenance, then you might have good cause to bring a wrongful death suit under certain circumstances.
Medical malpractice is another cause of these suits. If a surgeon's lack of competence results in the death of a family member, then you are probably are justified in filing a suit. A third common reason for these types of lawsuits is a defective product. If a poorly designed or poorly made product leads to someone's death, then the survivors have the right to sue in civil court.
Who May Sue
Only certain people have the right to sue for the wrongful death of an individual. Typically, the plaintiffs in these types of cases will be immediate family members, such as the spouse or children of the deceased. Exactly who may sue for wrongful death and who may not is dependent upon state laws, which may vary from state to state. For example, in some states a personal representative of the deceased's estate must bring the action. In this instance, the personal representative will divide any damages received in the case among the estate's beneficiaries.
In some situations, you will not be able to pursue your case because of a legal concept called sovereign immunity. This means that under the law, certain arms or agencies of the government cannot be sued unless certain conditions are met. These conditions usually vary from state to state, so if your case involves a government agency, you will need to check your state laws to determine if you have any chances of a successful suit.
Wrongful death lawsuits are typically lengthy and complex. To win your case, you will need the assistance of an expert lawyer who has experience handling these types of suits. For more information about wrongful death law and whether you have a case worth pursuing, contact a qualified wrongful death attorney in your area.