Wrongful death lawsuits are some of the most complicated cases to win, which is why the expertise of a high quality lawyer is so important for clients. But it is also vital that clients take the initiative to talk with an attorney, because there can be no wrongful death lawsuit without the will of the client. With that in mind, here is a look at five of the most important things you need to know about wrongful deaths and the related lawsuits.
- When to File?
Wrongful death lawsuits are filed any time after someone passes away because of the negligence of another person or company. This is not limited to car accidents, but those are often the most common reasons for a negligent death. Other types of cases include deaths resulting from faulty products, medical malpractice issues and more. The negligent party can be anyone from an individual to a company to a government entity.
- Who can Sue?
Anyone who suffered damage as the result of someone’s death can file a wrongful death suit. In a vast majority of cases, it is someone or multiple individuals from a person’s immediate family who file the lawsuit, because they are damaged the most on an emotional and financial level. If a person had a number of dependents, they are all entitled to file the wrongful death lawsuit. These could be children, a spouse, parents or other relatives. Anyone who relied on the deceased individual on a financial level is entitled to file a lawsuit.
- Criminal Trials Related to Wrongful Death Suits
There are cases where a criminal trial must precede the wrongful death suit, because criminal charges are given a greater priority. If someone’s negligence caused your loved one’s death and they are currently on trial for the crime, you may want to talk with the experts at Zaner Harden Law about how you can proceed with a wrongful death lawsuit after the criminal proceedings are over. Sometimes there is not enough evidence to convict someone of the crime in criminal court, but they are successfully sued in civil court.
- Proving the Wrongful Death
Proving the wrongful death in each case is almost always the hardest part about winning one of these lawsuits. It is important to show that the death of the individual in question came about because of the intentional and/or negligent actions of another person, company, entity or government. The people who are filing the lawsuit must also show how they were negatively impacted by the individual’s death in order to receive adequate compensation.
- Statute of Limitations
There is a statute of limitations on wrongful death lawsuits in every state in America. It is important to check with an attorney in your state about the statute of limitations, because you do not want to wait too long before filing your case. For example, Pennsylvania has a two-year limitation for filing wrongful death lawsuits, which still leaves plenty of time for a possible criminal trial to conclude before a civil suit is filed.