Who can file a wrongful death case?
A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by a person who is a close relative to the deceased, including a parent, spouse or a child. Additionally, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by financial dependants, putative spouses, distant family members and parents of a deceased. The case is usually filed by a representative of the estate, on behalf of surviving family members and other affected parties.
Can I file a wrongful death lawsuit if the deceased never held a job?
Yes, if the deceased never held a job, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. The deceased may have contributed in some other way to the family. For instance, a stay at home wife or husband contributes by providing guidance and nurturing the family. Such contributions may be quantifiable and are known as “pecuniary losses” in a wrongful death case.
What are the categories of damages in wrongful death lawsuits?
Damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit vary from state to state. Generally, there are three categories of damages:
- Economic damages: These damages replace the financial contributions the deceased would have made if not for the untimely death. They include:
- Medical and funeral experiences following death
- Loss of the deceased expected earnings
- Loss of benefits (pension plans, medical coverage, etc.)
- Loss of inheritance due to untimely death
- The total value of goods and services the deceased would have provided to the survivors
- The survivors’ mental anguish or pain and suffering
- Loss of care, guidance, protection and nurturing
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of consortium