How Does Compensation In A Wrongful Death Case Work?

October 20, 2023

What Is A Wrongful Death Case?

A wrongful death case is a legal case brought by family members or survivors of the incident where they charge an individual or party with knowingly or negligently causing the death of another individual. In a wrongful death lawsuit, the individual(s) filing the charge will seek out compensation for the distress and harm they had to endure due to the death. Some of the most common types of wrongful death cases include car accidents, medical malpractice, defective/​unsafe products and premise liability incidents. 

How Do You File A Wrongful Death case?

Filing a wrongful death case can be a complex legal process that can be broken down into consulting with an attorney to meet legal conditions and establishing liability to the correct party by proving negligence towards the victim. 

Consult with an Attorney

The first step any individual should take when filing a wrongful death case is to consult with an attorney on the eligibility of the case and to gain some legal insight on how case proceedings are predicted to go. Each state has different laws regarding who can file a wrongful death case and how long an individual or party can wait before filing a wrongful death claim to still be eligible for compensation. In most cases family members or personal representatives are able to sue for compensation of the death and the max time limit to wait before filing the case is two years from the date of the victim’s death. Having an attorney with legal experience in these types of cases is beneficial to knowing the terms and conditions associated with the specific case. 

Establish Liability

In order for the correct individual/​party to pay compensation for the victim’s death, it is essential to establish exactly which party should be held responsible and also be able to prove this allegation in court. There are four elements required to claim that a party was negligent and should be liable: duty, breach of duty, damages/​harm and causation. If these four elements can be proven with evidence in court then a party can be accurately held liable for the death of the said victim.

How Does Compensation Work In A Wrongful Death Case? 

After filing the case by meeting the legal conditions and establishing the liable party, compensation will then be determined based on the losses the victim’s representative or family members have had to face. 

Compensation is the payment that is received by a victim or their family member’s/ representatives in order to offset losses, breach of rights, or damages/​harm. The purpose of compensation is to provide justice to the individual or associated party through a financial or non-financial remedy. 

In terms of a wrongful death case, the first step that would be taken by the attorney is to identify and document the damages faced by the victim’s family which would include financial and non-financial expenses. Financial expenses would include medical expenses, funeral costs and lost income while non-financial expenses would include pain and suffering, emotional distress and loss of companionship. Your attorney would then present these calculated damages in court and the evidence of negligence in order to gain the fair amount of compensation for the victim’s representative/​family. Depending on the circumstances involved, the damage-causing party, or their insurance company, would move to engage in negotiations and settle the case by paying an agreed amount to the party suing. However, if a settlement cannot be reached, then the case would move to trial where a judge or jury will assess the case, the evidence, and the calculated damages to determine fair compensation.

Our team at Ball Eggleston is committed to securing the compensation you rightfully deserve and we will do everything we can to provide support and guide you through this legal process.