Thanks to the wonders of TV, many Americans are addicted to crime shows and think that a wrongful death suit is a criminal case. In reality, a wrongful death suit is a civil case.
A wrongful death by definition is a death that happens due to the negligence, recklessness or inaction of an organization or a person. The leading cause of wrongful death is medical malpractice, with accidents on the job, car crashes and defective products vying for second place.
No matter what caused the death, a family is grieving the loss of a loved one and wondering how to carry on with their lives and handle the sudden cessation of that person’s wages, etc. In the U.S., immediate family members are allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In most instances, that means parents, spouses, children, or a child’s guardian acting on the child’s behalf.
These types of lawsuits are seeking compensation from the courts for medical and funeral expenses, emotional distress of the loss of the loved one, lost income or inheritance, and loss of companionship (among other things). Depending on what state you are filing in, you will find the laws to be different. This is the reason you will need a wrongful death attorney to apprise you of your rights and how to file in your state.
Each state also has a statute of limitations that often varies as to when the time expires for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. Your attorney will tell you when you need to file your suit. Generally speaking, it is within one to three years from the time of the loved one’s death.
However, just because there is some time running to file a suit, don’t wait. A wrongful death lawyer must act quickly to get the evidence to prove that the defendant’s actions (or inaction) were the cause of death. It is also up to the attorney to show that family members are suffering and ask for adequate compensation on their behalf.
Tim Anderson works with Atlanta Personal Injury attorney, Stephen M. Ozcomert. The firm specializes in personal injury, malpractice, motorcycle accidents, and wrongful death. To learn more about Atlanta personal injury lawyer, Stephen M. Ozcomert, visit Ozcomert.com.