A valid wrongful death claim contains all of the elements that the court requires. Usually, such cases are settled by negotiations. A settlement is an agreement between two parties to resolve a dispute without going to court. It’s not uncommon for people to choose this option because they don’t want to deal with the stress of litigation.
Settlements can be reached before or after a lawsuit is filed, but if you’re represented by an attorney, it’s likely he or she will agree on a settlement in advance of filing your claim. If a settlement cannot be reached with one party but another party agrees to pay what has been agreed upon with the injured party, then this may affect how much money each person gets after an accident occurs.
What are those elements?
Proof of death: The death certificate
Evidence of the other party’s negligence: A family would have trouble winning a wrongful death claim, if the deceased had caused the accident.
Proof that the surviving family members have suffered a loss
Evidence of a doctor-patient relationship, if the wrongful death was caused by medical malpractice
What damages can the surviving family members claim?
• Medical expenses: Those would be minimal, if the decedent had died at the scene of a car accident. Otherwise, the family members could seek reimbursement for all the money that had been spent on trying to keep their loved on alive.
• Pain and suffering: When injuries are so severe that the injured patient ultimately succumbs to death, the same patient experiences a good deal of pain. Suffering would certainly accompany any realization of the expected outcome.
• Lost wages: The wages that the decedent lost, while he or she was in a hospital bed, being treated for the accident-linked injuries.
• Loss of a source of income, if the decedent had been the chief wage earner in the family’s household
• Loss of guidance, if the decedent had been one or both parents, and the children had survived
• Property damage: The value of the damaged vehicle, if totaled, or the cost of repairs for the same vehicle
• Funeral and burial expenses
Any state could add other provisions, concerning what the court would require of any family members that had chosen to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit.
Different states have different rules, regarding the position, within the grieving family, of the person that has filed the formal complaint, in order to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, as per injury lawyer in La Verne.
Some states allow a stepson or daughter to submit such a complaint; other states do not. Some states might allow a former spouse to join the list of the grieving family members. However, another state might honor only complaints from the spouse that was married to the decedent at the time of the accident.