If you've lost a loved one in an accident, you may be entitled to compensation through a wrongful death suit. The rules vary depending on where you live and the specifics of your situation. To get started, here's what you need to know.
1. There Must Be a Liable Party
In order to bring a wrongful death lawsuit forward, there must be a liable party. This refers to the entity that caused your loved one's death. For example, if your loved one died due to a malfunctioning product, the manufacturer may be liable. If your loved one died due to an accident on the premises of a business, the business may be liable. Similarly, if your loved one died while a guest at someone's house, that person may be liable.
2. You Need an Attorney to Help You
While you can represent yourself in some cases, an attorney is essential in a personal injury or wrongful death case. In these cases, you need to prove that someone was negligent and that their negligence directly caused the death of your loved one. Then, you need to argue about how much compensation you deserve. A skilled wrongful death accident attorney can handle all of that.
3. Compensation May Cover a Variety of Expenses
If you get compensation in a wrongful death suit, it can cover the medical expenses incurred by the deceased individual leading up to his or her death. It can also cover funeral expenses. Even more importantly, compensation may include pain and suffering, or it may replace the wages that your loved one would have provided to you and your family if they had not died.
4. Only Some Survivors Can Bring Forward a Wrongful Death Suit
There are laws about who can bring forward a wrongful death suit, and the laws vary from state to state. For instance, in Florida, the personal representative of the estate is the primary individual poised to bring forward a suit. However, the spouse, the children, and the parents of the deceased person may also bring forward a suit. If you're wondering whether or not you're eligible to bring forward a suit, you may want to contact a wrongful death accident attorney.
5. There Are Other Ways to Get Compensation
If you can't bring forward a wrongful death lawsuit, you may be able to get compensation in other ways. For example, if you are the spouse or minor child of someone who has died, you may be entitled to Social Security survivor's benefits. Although that may be less than you can get in a legal suit, it can still help.