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5 Examples of Wrongful Death Cases and How to File a Lawsuit

Essentially, a wrongful death lawsuit consists of an act by one individual leading to the death of another individual. The death might adhere to either a willful or unexpected activity, and the dead person's estate might find themselves eligible to submit a wrongful death claim. In order to recover from a wrongful death lawsuit, various damages might apply, such as the deceased person’s medical bills, lost earnings, and the pain and suffering before death. Some instances of wrongful death claims include: 

The term for recovery is explained in the law as "damages." Damages are the complainant's asserted losses in a personal injury case, which is the class of most wrongful death cases. Damages fall into two groups: compensatory and punitive damages. Most states award compensatory damages to the deceased person’s family members to compensate for their loss caused by the decedent's death. Compensatory damages are also granted to the decedent's surviving family; nevertheless, punitive damages act to penalize the offender and discourage others from similar behavior. Thus, some states concentrate on compensating the decedent's relatives, while others concentrate on punishing the offender. 

Now, one needs to bear in mind which state the mishap takes place in because each state has its own protocol for a wrongful death lawyer and what certifies as wrongful death.

What Qualifies as Wrongful Death? 

Wrongful death might be specified by each state's own "wrongful death statute," which establishes the policies for wrongful death actions. Along with financial liability for the death of an individual, one may likewise suffer conviction of a criminal activity affiliated with that death. For a wrongful death attorney to take on a case, they must first look at the elements used to define a wrongful death lawsuit. Each of the following factors must exist

  • The death of a person, 
  • The death was brought on by one’s negligence, or with intent to cause damage,
  • The survival of relatives that are suffering monetary damage as a result of the death,
  • The appointment of a personal representative for the decedent's estate. 

According to the factors above, the following instances may help establish whether to seek help from a wrongful death lawyer

 Example 1: Car Accident 

Anthony is driving to college after a long last summer in his parent's house. He cannot contain his exhilaration and has been texting with his new roommate throughout the day. Anthony knows that he should not be texting while driving but cannot withstand the temptation. In the blink of an eye, while sending a text, Anthony finds himself in a car accident with Mary and her little girl in the backseat. Mary suffered extreme head trauma upon impact with Anthony's car and lost her life shortly after the accident. Mary's surviving family members may find a wrongful death lawyer to seek damages for the loss of their family member's life in addition to justice. 

In this instance, if the wrongful death lawyer for Mary's family members establishes negligence by Anthony for texting and driving, Anthony might be found liable for a wrongful death claim. 

The plaintiff in a car accident wrongful death case may recover the customary damages such as lost earnings, lost work benefits, medical expenses, and the deceased's pain and suffering. And the driver at fault could be held liable in a wrongful death claim. 

Example 2: Slip and Fall

Eddie is addicted to coffee and fuels his addiction every morning at Starbucks, located just down the street from his residence. One morning Eddie walks into the front door of Starbucks and slips on a freshly moped floor. Unfortunately, a Starbucks trainee, in addition to the rest of the employees that mopped the floor, did not remember to put a "wet surface" sign after finishing the job. Unfortunately, Eddie died immediately upon impact with the floor. Eddie's family may seek the services of a wrongful death attorney to sue Starbucks for the death of their beloved Eddie. 

In this example, if the wrongful death attorney for Eddie's surviving relatives establishes negligence by Starbucks for failing to place a "wet surface" sign, Starbucks may be found liable for a wrongful death case

The plaintiff in a slip and fall wrongful death case may recuperate the customary damages such as lost income, lost employment benefits, medical costs, and the deceased's pain and suffering. Both workers and owners may be held responsible in a wrongful death legal action. 

Example 3: Medical Malpractice 

Casey brings his son, Billy, to the hospital for the rupture of Billy's appendix. Billy is diagnosed with Appendicitis. Unfortunately, halfway through the desired routine surgical treatment, a medical professional nicks an artery in Billy, killing him within minutes. Casey finds out about the doctor's error and looks to hire a wrongful death lawyer for the death of his son, Billy. 

In this instance, if the wrongful death lawyer for Billy's father establishes negligence by the physician for the death of Billy, the physician may be discovered as liable in a wrongful death claim

In a medical malpractice wrongful death case, the plaintiff may recover the customary damages such as lost earnings, lost employment benefits, medical costs, and the deceased's pain and suffering. Both the medical professional and hospital may be held responsible in a wrongful death legal action. 

Example 4: Products Liability 

Joe buys a new candy at the checkout line of the grocery store every time he shops. One day, Joe purchases a brand-new flavor of Skittles that no one has tried before. Joe eats the whole bag of Skittles and experiences kidney failure that causes his eventual death. Joe's relatives may look for the services of a wrongful death attorney as a response. 

In this instance, if the wrongful death attorney for Joe's surviving family members establishes negligence by Skittles for producing a fatal product, Skittles may be found liable in a  wrongful death claim. 

The complainant in a products liability wrongful death case may recover the customary damages such as lost earnings, lost employment benefits, medical costs, and the deceased's pain and suffering. The producer of the product may be held liable in a wrongful death claim. 

Example 5: Assault/battery 

John and Bob start an argument over who runs faster. One day the two men decide to race to settle the conflict once and for all. Both John and Bob run a 6-minute mile which angers them both even further. John becomes so upset that he threatens to retrieve his tire iron. Nonetheless, John strolls to his automobile, reaches for his tire iron, and sure enough, kills Bob. Bob's family members may seek a wrongful death attorney’s services to obtain damages for Bob’s death. 

In this instance, if the wrongful death lawyer for Bob’s relatives develops negligence by John for the death of Bob, John may be held accountable in a wrongful death claim. 

For clarification, assault does not require that the defendant make contact with his/her victim. Rather, assault is a willful attempt or hazard to bring upon injury that places one or more individuals in fear of imminent physical harm. Battery, nevertheless, is the intentional touching of another individual in a dangerous or offending method without consent. Although individuals appear to say "assault and battery" together, they are different torts, and it is feasible to have one without the other. 

In an assault/battery wrongful death case, the plaintiff may recover the customary damages such as lost incomes, lost employment benefits, medical costs, and the deceased's pain and suffering. The person that causes damage may be held responsible in a wrongful death lawsuit. 

How to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit 

To file a wrongful death suit, a wrongful death lawyer must first consider who may qualify as the authorized individual by the state's statute to submit this suit. In some states, compared to others, the decedent's surviving spouse, kids, parents, siblings, or other relatives may qualify as authorized to submit a wrongful death lawsuit. Nevertheless, other states call for only the personal representative or executor of the decedent's estate to submit a wrongful death claim. Of course, each state's laws and regulations confirm as vital towards this issue. 

Another vital step for a wrongful death attorney is to find out a state's implemented time limit that restricts whether a wrongful death claim may be filed. For instance

  • In California, the wrongful death statute of limitations is 2 years. 
  • In Montana, the statute of limitations is 3 years. 
  • In Florida, the statute of limitations is 2 years from the day of death. 

Some states begin their statute of limitations (time limit) on the day of the death, while others begin upon discovery of the harm. If the statute of limitations as defined by your state's regulations had run, then you may not have the ability to bring a wrongful death legal action. 

Next off, a wrongful death lawyer must submit the appropriate documents to start the legal action officially. Typically, this first document in a civil case is called a complaint or petition. This complaint or petition must provide the accused with notice of the factual and legal grounds for the case. In addition, a wrongful death attorney file a summons, which essentially informs the defendant that he is being sued and where the lawsuit will be heard. Finally, when the wrongful death attorney submits the legal action, all relevant documents must be given to all defendants. Once again, each state may implement its own set of guidelines about correct methods to provide such information. 

A wrongful death lawyer's most important task lies in proving fault for the wrongful death claim. To prove fault, the wrongful death attorney needs to prove negligence on behalf of the defendant unless the defendant commits an intentional act. Negligence lies at the heart of this job which includes its own elements. Proving negligence requires proving duty, breach of duty, causation, and last but not least, damages. Concerning duty, it is primarily a duty to do something to safeguard another person or avoid doing something that would ultimately cause them damage. Regarding breach of duty, a complainant needs to convince a court that the complainant's variation of the facts is more than 50% likely to be true. Regarding causation, the plaintiff must show that the breach of duty caused the decedent's harm. In addition to breach of duty and causation, the complainant must show that the decedent experienced damages. A wrongful death attorney contributes to these actions toward discovering the truth. 

In connection with the first instance of a wrongful death case, "car accident," the complainant, Mary's surviving family, is declaring that the defendant, Anthony, drove negligently when he killed Mary. Mary's surviving family might say that Anthony owed Mary a duty of care to operate a car as a reasonably wise individual. 

In full transparency, the above process might be tough to navigate, and serving initial documents is just the primary step in the process. Legal actions might last for several years, consisting of several nuanced steps, which may be challenging for a non-lawyer. To navigate through the legal process in a smooth and effective manner, it may be in your best interest to seek the services of a wrongful death attorney

Why the Cochran Firm 

The attorneys at The Cochran Firm are among the nation’s most successful and tenacious attorneys. When navigating through the legal process, you deserve to have an experienced attorney by your side. The Cochran Firm attorneys know how to fight for you. 

Here at The Cochran Firm, our experienced attorneys are ready to help families who are pursuing a wrongful death claim. Our attorneys work closely with each of our clients using pooled resources and their access to legal expertise to ensure the most effective legal representation available is provided. 

You need the help of an experienced, wrongful death lawyer who has proven successful results in other similar cases to guide you through the process and help you to receive the monetary damages entitled to you under the law. At The Cochran Firm, we have the offices, the experience, the results, and the resources to aid clients throughout the United States. Please contact the wrongful death attorneys at The Cochran Firm today for your free, no-obligation initial consultation today. 

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