Things to Consider Before Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

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A Brief History

On this date in history, January 19th, 1809, Edgar Allan Poe was born. At the age of three, his parents died and he was left in the care of his godfather, John Allan. Needless to say, death continued to be an integral part of Peo’s life, as it is with us all.

Everything progresses with time, and that includes the way we handle certain hurtful experiences. From something as cruel as taking another life because of a wrongful death, humans became more civilized and made laws to completely erase these savage ways of settling matters in the old days.

There are a few things in life that usually do not turn out the way we would have hoped. The bad part is, we are rarely ever able to prevent such things from happening. These may include the terrible case of wrongful death; a tragedy that is heavy on the hearts of the deceased person’s loved ones. Still, justice must be exercised and enforced. In order to do so, you must file a wrongful death claim; however, there are a number of things that must be considered beforehand, especially if you are hoping to turn this into one of those rare occasions where you are in control and have it to yield fair results.

Digging Deeper

Who Can Receive Compensation?

Though recognition, apology, or money will not bring back your loved ones, it is still necessary to hold the liable parties accountable in the case of wrongful death. Although the regulations vary from state to state, the compensation will usually be collected by surviving family members.

  • Spouse

Losing your companion is excruciatingly hard, and as a result, the law allows for spouses to file a claim for their lost life partners. This includes being awarded for damages of trauma, namely emotional trauma, which results from the death of the deceased. 

  • Parents

Usually, most courts award the parents of a minor child, though not of an adult. This will also differ from state to state. The kind of award parents would receive is, again, for emotional trauma, as they would have lost their child. 

  • Children

Just as parents get compensated for losing their minor child, a minor child gets compensated for losing their parents. Depending on where the case takes place, an adult child of the deceased may be eligible to file a claim, but usually, this is not the case. 

When Does a Wrongful Death Claim Become Applicable?

The tragedy of wrongful death is often life-altering, and it can ruin lives quite dramatically. Still, it is important to know when you can file a claim, as not all cases are the same, even though they all leave behind a void that will never be filled. Having successfully practiced personal injury and wrongful death law for many years in Dallas, Texas, the experienced attorneys at Guajardo & Marks LLP urge surviving family members to find out how responsible parties can be held accountable so that they can seek justice. Never forget to seek professional legal advice, as they will be able to guide you every step of the way during these times. Amid crushing medical bills, funeral costs, and much more, here are a few points to help you decide whether the claim is applicable: 

  • Intentional 

If it has been proven that the deceased was indeed killed intentionally by another person, your claim becomes applicable. 

  • Medical Malpractice

More often than not, you will hear of a patient falling victim to their medical practitioner’s negligence or malpractice. This claim becomes applicable when the doctor fails to make a diagnosis or makes an incorrect diagnosis resulting in the patient’s death. It can also extend to a lack of care on the doctor’s part.

 

  • Car Accident

When a car accident that involves negligence results in death, then it becomes necessary to take the necessary legal steps, as your claim will have the grounds to move forward.

The Damages in a Wrongful Death Claim

When a wrongful death occurs and the deceased’s loved ones are looking to file a claim against the liable parties, there are different categories to take into account. The compensation is determined based on many factors, which are all crucial to the process. 

  • Pain and Suffering

More commonly known as a survival claim, this type of damage focuses on receiving compensation for the pain and suffering endured by the deceased prior to their death. Details will have to be included in this claim, as it is difficult to prove pain and suffering in a court of law since it does not tend to be an incontestable argument. 

  • Medical Treatment

Whether it is by the hands of a doctor, or by other means, you can file a claim against the medical treatment the deceased had received prior to their death. However, this only includes the treatment they received as a result of the injury or disease that had led to their death.

  • Funeral Costs

This will include everything, from the costs of the flowers too—of course—the burial, as well as the rest of the costs. 

  • Loss of Income

If the deceased was employed prior to the tragedy, and they were providing their household with income, their death would put an end to that. In such a case, you are granted the opportunity to file a claim for the loss of income the household is suffering from. This will also include the income they were expected to receive, had the tragedy been prevented.

  • Loss of Inheritance

An untimely and wrongful death will usually lead to a lot of complications that are not confined to grief. It will often have a lasting effect besides the emptiness the loss has left. One of these things includes the inheritance that would have been provided.

  • Services That Would Have Been Given

Had the deceased’s life been made different prior to their death, they would have provided services that extend beyond finances. As the loved ones could be—and probably were—affected, they are entitled to a claim.

  • Loss of Love, Guidance, Care and Nurturing

There is nothing that is more saddening than a loss of love, care, and guidance. Being robbed of these things causes an unparalleled kind of pain and suffering. It is for that reason that a court grants you the entitlement to file for a claim against these kinds of losses. This will also include a loss of nurturing, suffered mostly by the deceased’s children.

When it comes to filing a wrongful death claim, there are a number of things you must pay attention to and take into consideration. However, as long as you know your rights and have the appropriate evidence, you may hire an attorney and take legal action. Just make sure you get the compensation you deserve and seek justice, even though it can never make up for the tragedy you have suffered.

Question for students (and subscribers): What is your favorite work written by Poe?  Please let us know in the comments section below this article.

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Historical Evidence

For more information, please see…

Krause, Roger F.  Fighting Back: A Guide to Wrongful Death Claims in Georgia.  Word Association Publishers, 2014.

Silverman, Kenneth.  Edgar A. Poe: Mournful and Never-ending Remembrance.  Harper Perennial, 2008.

The featured image in this article, a photograph by jessica45, is licensed under the Pixabay License.

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About Author

Abdul Alhazred

“But I don’t want to go among mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can’t help that," said the Cat: "we’re all mad here. I’m mad. You’re mad." "How do you know I’m mad?" said Alice. "You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn’t have come here.” ― Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland