Seeking Justice and Compensation for the Loss of a Loved One
Losing a cherished family member is an indescribable pain, and it becomes even more unbearable when their death could have been prevented due to someone else’s negligence. In such heartbreaking situations, families often turn to legal avenues to pursue accountability and seek compensation through wrongful death and survival action claims.
Wrongful Death Claims: Advocating for the Surviving Family
Wrongful death lawsuits are initiated on behalf of the deceased person’s estate, with the goal of providing compensation for their surviving family members. These claims arise when a victim succumbs to fatal injuries immediately following an act of negligence by another party. Examples can include motor vehicle accidents, slip and fall incidents, and medical malpractice.
In wrongful death claims, the focus is on supporting the surviving family members, such as the spouse and children of the deceased. The damages sought aim to cover economic support, including future lost wages, especially if the victim was the primary breadwinner. Additionally, families can seek compensation for pain, suffering, grief, and loss of companionship, which all describe the emotional impact on relationships caused by the injury or death.
For families heavily dependent on the emotional and financial support provided by the deceased, a settlement from a wrongful death suit can be crucial for their economic survival. This is particularly significant for minor children who may face years of financial struggle ahead while coping with the emotional turmoil of losing a parent. The damages awarded in wrongful death claims are directed towards the victim’s next of kin, enabling them to move forward financially after the tragedy.
Survival Action Claims: Seeking Justice for the Victim
Survival actions, another type of personal injury lawsuit, are filed on behalf of the victim and pursue damages that the deceased person would have been entitled to if they had survived their injuries. These claims are often pursued when a victim initially survives an injury caused by negligence but later succumbs to it. Examples include cases of medical malpractice involving gross medical errors, surgical mistakes, or misdiagnosis leading to untimely death. The stronger the connection between the initial injury and death, the stronger the case for a survival action lawsuit.
Unlike wrongful death claims, which focus on the losses suffered by the survivors, survival action claims center on the damages endured by the victim between the time of the injury event and their death. This includes pain, suffering, emotional anguish, and significant medical expenses incurred during that period.
Survival actions account for the damages suffered by the deceased person, such as the pain and suffering experienced before death and any medical bills accrued during that time frame. By filing survival action suits, negligent parties cannot evade liability solely because the injuries they caused did not immediately result in a fatality.
Damages awarded in survival actions are paid directly to the deceased individual’s estate, which then distributes them to the beneficiaries through an executor during the estate settlement.
Eligibility for Compensation: Who Can File?
Only eligible parties can seek compensation through wrongful death or survival action claims. These parties typically include individuals who relied on the victim’s financial support while they were alive or those responsible for covering their medical bills, funeral expenses, and burial costs.
Compensation seeks to address various elements of loss, including financial support, loss of services, future earnings, loss of spousal or parental companionship, mental anguish, pain, and suffering. Courts generally recognize the following as interested parties who can file a lawsuit on behalf of a deceased loved one:
- Spouse of the deceased person
- Biological or adopted children over the age of 25
- Biological or adoptive parents
- Siblings of the deceased if they received full or partial support from the victim while alive
Other scenarios may also qualify a person for compensation in a wrongful death claim or survival action. It is essential to consult with an attorney to fully understand eligibility for financial reparations following a fatal accident or injury.
The Importance of a Personal Injury Lawyer: Guiding You Through the Legal Process
Legal actions involving a deceased person, including continuing a lawsuit filed before their death, can be intricate and challenging. Both wrongful death and survival action claims require the party filing the suit to demonstrate that another person’s negligence led to the victim’s injuries, ultimately resulting in their untimely death.
During such a time of grief, it is invaluable to engage the services of a personal injury attorney. They can assist in gathering crucial evidence, maintaining meticulous records of the deceased person’s medical care, and interviewing witnesses to strengthen the case. This evidence, along with accident scene reconstruction reports and photographs, can serve as compelling proof if the case proceeds to trial.
Each state imposes a statute of limitations for filing wrongful death and survival action claims. For instance, in Nebraska, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years from the date of the deceased person’s death. On the other hand, a survival action claim may be pursued under a residual statute of limitations of up to four years if initiated before the victim’s demise.
A seasoned personal injury attorney can guide families through the necessary steps and timeline for pursuing wrongful death or survival action claims in the name of their deceased relative. Failure to meet the statute of limitations for either claim can jeopardize future opportunities to collect damages.
When faced with the aftermath of an accident that claimed the life of a loved one, it is essential to trust in the professional guidance of a personal injury team that can strive to hold negligent parties accountable and seek justice for your family during this distressing time.
In conclusion, if you have experienced the loss of a family member due to someone else’s negligence, it is crucial to understand your legal options. Wrongful death and survival action claims provide avenues for seeking compensation and holding those responsible accountable. By working with a skilled personal injury lawyer, you can navigate the complex legal process and focus on your family’s needs during this emotionally challenging time.