What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a suit brought by the personal representative of a person killed by the criminal or negligent conduct of another person. The lawsuit is brought to benefit family members of the deceased person.

Filing a Lawsuit When Another's Conduct Kills Your Loved One

If the negligent or criminal conduct of another killed your spouse, parent or child, or a defective product caused the death of your loved one, you may be eligible to recover compensation for related damages.

What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The conduct that would form the basis of a personal injury lawsuit had the person survived will form the basis of a wrongful death action.

  • Negligence: You can show that a party’s negligence caused the decedent's death. You must show the defendant owed the decedent a duty of care, the defendant did not meet that duty, the defendant caused the decedent's death, and the beneficiaries experienced damages.
  • Medical malpractice: You can show a health care provider did not meet the standard of care required of the medical community and that the conduct caused the decedent's death.

Preserving the Evidence in a Wrongful Death Action

Contact a lawyer soon after the accident, so the evidence is properly preserved. What can happen after the accident?

  • A damaged vehicle is towed to a junkyard, and its condition is altered.
  • Skid marks on the road may fade.
  • Witnesses may move, or their memories may fade.

Wrongful Death Action to Recover the Value of the Decedent's Life

If your loved one died in an accident caused by someone's criminal or negligent conduct, you can file a wrongful death suit to recover damages related to the decedent’s death.

Who Files the Wrongful Death Action

  • The decedent's surviving spouse
  • If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse, the decedent's children
  • If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse or child, the decedent's parents
  • If the decedent does not have a surviving spouse, child, or parent, the personal representative of the decedent's estate

Recovery for Lost Wages of the Decedent

If you bring a wrongful death suit on behalf of your parent, spouse or child, you can recover for the value of the decedent's lost wages, including what your parent, spouse, or child could have earned during his or her lifetime. Your lawyer at S. Burke Law will gather evidence about the decedent's work history and may work with an economist to put a value on the decedent's life.

  • If the decedent is an older adult, we may look at the decedent's current employment and determine how much he or she would likely have earned during his or her lifetime.
  • If the decedent is a young adult, for example, a student, we may gather evidence about how much a person on the same career path would earn during his or her lifetime.

Other Recoverable Damages in a Wrongful Death Case

Other types of damages for which you may recover compensation in a wrongful death case include:

  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium
  • Funeral expenses
  • Medical expenses

Get Help With a Wrongful Death Action to Recover Financial Losses

If you lost a loved one because of somebody else’s negligence or criminal act, contact attorney Sheryl Burke at S. Burke Law. We can help you take action to fight for compensation your family needs and deserves.

Call us today at 404-842-7838 for a free consultation.