A death caused by a negligent, careless, intentional, or reckless act of another person or corporation is considered a wrongful death. Wrongful death cases may come about in a number of different contexts, including motor vehicle accidents, workplace accidents, products liability, nursing home negligence or abuse, and medical malpractice.
All states authorize surviving family members to be compensated for both economic and non-economic losses, including loss of financial support, love, care, comfort, supervision, guidance, household assistance and general society. Some states also allow surviving family members to be compensated for their personal grief and suffering.
The required elements for a successful case for wrongful death include:
- Death of person;
- That death was caused by the negligence of another;
- There are surviving family members who are monetarily suffering due to that death, and;
- There must be a personal representative appointed to bring the suit on behalf of the decedent’s estate.
Damages permitted in a wrongful death case typically include:
- Medical, hospital, funeral and burial expenses;
- Compensation for the decedent’s pain and suffering, during any period of consciousness between the time of injury and death;
- Losses suffered by the decedent’s spouse, children, or next of kin, including: financial support, service, gifts or other valuable gratuities, parental training and guidance, and society and companionship.