Wrongful Death: Who, What, and How
Defining Wrongful Death
Unfortunately, millions of Americans suffer from wrongful deaths every year. Wrongful death is defined as a person’s negligent conduct causing the death of another person, leaving that person’s loved ones behind to mourn from their loss. Wrongful death can result from motor vehicle accidents, medicine malpractice, defective products, or homicide.
Wrongful Death Claim vs. Survivor Act Claim
Wrongful death claims are not filed to pay the victim, but instead to compensate the victim’s family. Survivor action claims are similar to wrongful death claims, but a wrongful death case compensates for the victim’s own damages, covering the victim’s contributions to the household that the family was dependent upon. The survivor action compensates for the victim’s suffering caused by the defendant, such as medical expenses, and other costs that the victim faced during the time of injury to the time of death. The survivor action compensation does not go to the victim’s family and instead goes to the victim’s estate.
Damages a victim’s family might be able to receive compensation for include:
- Pain leading up to the victim’s death
- Medical costs due to injury prior to death
- Funeral costs
- Loss of victim’s expected income
- Loss of inheritance
- The values of services the victim could have provided
- Loss of care and guidance the victim could have provided
- Loss of love and companionship
- Loss of consortium
Even though family members would be the ones compensated for damages, they may not be able to file the wrongful death claim. Only the executor of the estate can file on the victim’s behalf. The only way a family member could file is if they are also the executor.
Unique Wrongful Death Cases
Many people might not be aware that wrongful death cases also apply to incarcerated individuals. If a family member loses a loved one in prison, a wrongful death claim can be filed if the victim died due to neglect or abuse. The type of compensation the family could receive depends on a few factors. The family must know what type of institution the victim died in, whether that institution is a federal or state institution, whether that institution is public or private, and if the victim died from neglect or abuse. This information will also help the family’s attorney establish who to file the lawsuit against.
Even though there is no amount of money in the world to supplement the loss of a loved one, being fairly compensated for their loss can relieve extra distress from an already unfortunate circumstance. Understanding what a wrongful death is, who can file the claim, and how to go about the process will assist in getting the compensation families deserve.
At Los Angeles Injury Group, we have experienced attorneys who have successfully assisted clients with their estate disputes. We understand how important these issues are to your life and your family, and are available at (310) 954-7248 to answer any of your questions.