- Personal Injury Attorney: What is Wrongful Death?
- September 1, 2016
- Law Firm: Law Offices of Peter G. Angelos A Professional Corporation - Baltimore Office
When an individual dies as a result of the negligence or at the fault of another person including a medical professional, a representative may file a wrongful death claim against that negligent party. The claim is a civil action brought against the negligent party for damages that occurred as a result of the death.
Each state has its own regulations governing wrongful death lawsuits, and who may file them. In general, a legal representative may file a claim on behalf of the real parties in interest-the survivors who suffered damages as a result of the death. Often, states define this representative as the closest living relative to the decedent. This typically includes immediate family members or financial dependents. Some states also consider life partners, family members such as grandparents and siblings, and unrelated individuals who suffered financial loss as a result of the death.
There are various damages that may be recovered by a wrongful death claim. If the death occurred as a result of medical malpractice, the plaintiff may be able to recover similar damages to that of a medical malpractice claim, such as damages experienced by the deceased had they survived. These include loss of wages, cost of medical bills, and pain and suffering. If the wrongful death occurred as a result of negligence of another individual or entity, during an accident or otherwise, the plaintiff may seek similar compensation.
Additionally, a plaintiff can seek to recover damages related to the losses that they or their family experienced. This includes compensation for any expenses related to the death, such as funeral and burial costs, loss of support from the deceased and loss of consortium. In order to make a claim for lost support, the plaintiff must be able to provide evidence that the decedent provided them with financial support.