When someone’s death occurs as a result of recklessness or negligence on the part of a company or individual, such as an employer, the victim’s family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. The purpose of such as lawsuit is to seek compensation for the survivor’s loss, such as funeral expenses, lost wages from the deceased and emotional trauma.
Who is Entitled to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
A person is eligible to file a wrongful death claim if they have suffered damage from the decedent’s death. This may include:
- Immediate family members
- Spouses, life partners and financial dependents
- Distant family members (in some states)
- Anyone who suffers financially (in some states)
- Parents of a deceased fetus (in some states)
Who Can a Wrongful Death Lawsuit be Filed Against?
A wrongful death claim can be filed against a wide variety of persons depending on the cause and location of the death, including:
- A company
- An employer
- An employee
- A government agency
Stages of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
There are three stages to a wrongful death lawsuit. These are:
The Pre-litigation Stage
During this stage, the decedent’s representative must:
- retain a personal injury attorney
- set up the decedent’s estate at the county courthouse
- permit the attorney to conduct an investigation into the events surrounding the death
- conduct negotiations with the defendant
The Litigation Stage
This stage involves:
- Filing of complaint—in which the decedent’s representative presents a writ to begin legal proceedings.
- Responding to the complaint—in which the defendant makes a response.
- Discovery phase—in which each side can ask each other questions (in writing) and each side must either answer or object. Written requests for the production of documents may also be made.
- Pre-trial phase—in which both parties inform the judge of the details of the case and a jury is selected.
- Trial— in which the case is presented to the judge and a jury and a final verdict is rendered.
- Post-trial—in which either party may appeal to challenge the outcome of the trial.
Our legal professionals at Asheden & Associates can explain your rights, help understand the implications of a wrongful death claim and enable you to prepare for a wrongful death lawsuit. There’s no time to waste, contact us so we start working on your case straight away.