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       In general, a wrongful death lawsuit is a lawsuit regarding a death that was caused by another person's negligence, recklessness, malpractice, and sometimes inaction.  In such cases, and depending on state law, families of the deceased can file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of their loved one.  These lawsuits can help families recover damages for pain, suffering, lost wages, mental anguish, loss of companionship, related medical costs, and other expenses that have resulted and relate to the wrongful death.  So, if you have lost a loved one to a wrongful death incident, you may be eligible for an award of damages in the appropriate court. For more details, you should contact an attorney.

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        A question that is often asked is, who has the right to file the lawsuit.  Although the answer to this question depends on which state the lawsuit is filed in, in general immediate family members (including parents, spouses, and children) are almost always eligible to file a claim.  For minors, the law may require the need for an adult guardian to take a wrongful death lawsuit to court. Additionally, other family members - such as stepparents, grandparents, and dependents, may also be permitted to file suit in some states.

Another common question what role can a wrongful death lawyer play in a lawsuit.  In general, a wrongful death attorney can help you gather important evidence, understand the relevant law, complete necessary paperwork and filings, and prepare a convincing lawsuit. Hiring an attorney can also help alleviate some of the stress you may be experiencing - by allowing you to understand your legal rights.


     Depending on state law and the specific facts, the type of damages that may be recoverable in a wrongful death include"

  • Medical and funeral costs

  • Lost wages, including future earnings

  • Lost benefits

  • Lost inheritance

  • Pain and suffering

  • Mental anguish

  • Loss of support or companionship

  • General damages

  • Punitive damages

A very important thing to remember about wrongful death lawsuits, is that basically every wrongful death lawsuit is subject to a statute of limitations.  In general, the statute of limitations caps the amount of time that a person who has lost a loved one has to initiate a wrongful death lawsuit.



It is always a better idea to act sooner, rather than later, when dealing with legal matters. The closer it is to an accident, the more time to investigate and identify who is liable for the injuries that resulted. This will increase the chances of recovering a higher amount of compensation for the personal injury. Some states have set a statute of limitation on the time frame you must file your personal injury case that will automatically disqualify you from recovering any compensation if you wait too long.

Wrongful Death Case Example*
Date Facts

Judith Anderson's husband was killed in 2003 when his car was hit by a Schneider National semi-tractor trailer rig when Bradley fainted. Judith Anderson, individually, and as representative of the Estate of William Anderson, sued Thomas Bradley, Schneider National Inc. and Schneider National Bulk Carriers Inc. claiming that the defendants' negligence caused the wrongful death of Mr. Anderson (51 years old). Mrs. Anderson claimed that Schneider knew that Bradley had health problems that made it unsafe for him to drive a vehicle.


Past Examples of Wrongful Death Lawsuits:

  • Automobile Accident

  • Trucking Accident

  • Tire Blowout Accident

  • Airplane Accident

  • Motorcycle Accident

  • Careless Actions by Another

  • Failure to Stop

  • Workplace Injury

  • Medical Malpractice

  • Hospital Negligence

  • Negligence

  • Product Liability

  • Dog Bite

  • Medicine Malpractice

  • Surgery Malpractice

  • Slip Accidents

  • other areas


       Frequently Asked Wrongful Death Questions:

  • Who might be considered as the survivors of a victim of wrongful death?  The survivors of a wrongful death victim may vary from state to state, but in general, usually the survivors include the spouse and minor children. Check with a Lawyer for specifics.

  • What compensation can be claimed in a wrongful death case?  Compensation may vary by state or jurisdiction but some examples include the following: (i) Expenses incurred by the death of the victim (funeral, medical, etc.); (ii) Loss of future earnings anticipated over the lifetime of the victim; (iii) Benefits lost due to the victims death (medical insurance, pension, 401K, etc.); (iv) Survivors pain, suffering and mental anguish caused by the victims death; (v) Companionship, care or protection lost to the survivors as a result of the death and  (vi) General and punitive damages.  Check with a Lawyer for specifics.

  • Who can file a wrongful death claim?  This depends on the individual state law, but in general the immediate family members (spouses, children and parents) can file a wrongful death claim. Some states allow grandparents, legal dependants and extended family members to file.  Check with a Lawyer for specifics.

  • Are there any limitations on who cannot be sued?  This depends on the individual state law, but in some states, a family member cannot sue another family member for wrongful death.   Check with a Lawyer for specifics.

If someone you love has been the victim of wrongful death, you may want to have the facts reviewed by a lawyer.


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*The wrongful death case example is provided for illustrative purposes only.  The outcome of your case will depend upon the facts of your case.

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