The loss of a loved one to an untimely accident is always tragic. The loss of a loved one due to someone else's negligence compounds the pain by adding the knowledge that your loved one was killed due to someone else's carelessness. Every state has a civil set of statutes, which establish the procedures for bringing wrongful death actions. If you've lost a loved one or family member through a negligence-related incident, a wrongful death case can help you get the justice you deserve, and help ensure that no-one else is injured or killed in the same way. A wrongful death case can never bring back your lost family member, but it can help you deal with the day-to-day reality of that loss by enabling you to continue to live your life.
What is Wrongful Death?
Until you've had to deal with a tragic accident yourself, you probably never encounter the phrase "wrongful death." A wrongful death case is when a family member dies as a result of someone else's negligence. If your husband goes in for surgery, his doctor fails to perform the medical procedure properly, and he dies as a result of the doctor's negligence, you might have a wrongful death case. Alternately, if your wife is involved in a car accident that was a result of someone else's negligence, and she dies from her injuries, you probably have a wrongful death case.
One caveat of a wrongful death case is that only family members or the estate (as determined by the will or by state intestacy law) can bring a wrongful death action on behalf of the deceased. Spouse, children or parents file a wrongful death case. The estate can also file a wrongful death case. If you're not family or the estate, you may not be able to file a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased.
Jackson wrongful death cases take many forms. It may not be obvious that a death is a wrongful death case at first case, but an experienced law firm, like Kobs & Philley, PLLC, can identify whether your case is a wrongful death case. Types of wrongful death cases may include:
- Negligent car accident leading to death;
- On-the-job injury leading to death;
- Defective product that results in death;
- Premises liability leading to death;
- Accident on someone else's property that leads to death;
- Medical malpractice leading to death.
There are many circumstances under which an accidental death may be a wrongful death case; these are just a few examples. Sometimes a tragic accident is just a tragic accident, but sometimes it's a negligent act that could have been avoided, in which case you have a wrongful death case.
To pursue a wrongful death case, you must establish three criteria:
- The act was negligent.
- The negligent act culminated in death.
- There are financial damages as a result of the death.
Establishing that an act was negligent can be a challenging task, and may require detailed analysis, expert testimony, accident reconstruction or the use of a private investigator.
Proving Negligence in a Ridgeland Wrongful Death Case
Proving negligence and liability in a Jackson or Ridgeland wrongful death case is typically the most challenging aspect of a wrongful death claim. The line between an honest accident and negligence can be a fine one, but that line determines whether you have a wrongful death case or simply a tragedy. When you hire a wrongful death attorney, such as Jared A. Kobs or Benjamin N. Philley, one of the first things that the wrongful death lawyer does is to establish negligence and liability.
Many things can complicate establishing negligence, or finding the liable party. In a car accident case, it may require witness testimony, accident reconstruction, and an expert opinion to prove that an accident was negligent. In a defective product case, on the other hand, it may still require an expert to establish that the product's defect was negligence-related, but it may also be more challenging to find the liable party. Is it the manufacturer that is liable, or the supplier who provided the defective part? A good wrongful death attorney can evaluate these criteria and prove negligence and liability.
Untimely Death can have Financial Repercussions
No-one wants to think about money when a loved one has died, but the practical reality is that the untimely death of a family member has real financial repercussions. If your beloved family member spent time in the hospital prior to death as a result of his or her injuries, the cost of intensive medical care piles up quickly. You could be left with tens of thousands of dollars or hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills, which an insurance company may or may not pay, depending on the circumstances.
If your loved one does pass, you have the added cost of putting him or her to rest, including unplanned-for funeral expenses. Even the most basic ceremony costs thousands of dollars, and a more elaborate final memorial can easily cost tens of thousands of dollars.
When your deceased family member is also a primary breadwinner in your household, you face the financial repercussions of dealing with a loss of income. This may impact your ability to keep your house, raise your kids, and live your day-to-day life in the way that you and your family member had planned.
The types of damages recoverable in a wrongful death lawsuit will vary depending on the jurisdiction in which the claim is brought. Below are some examples of types of damages that may be recoverable:
- Loss of anticipated future earnings the deceased would have provided
- Lost benefits from the death, e.g., pension or retirement benefits
- Expense associated with the death, e.g., medical bills and funeral costs
- Pain and suffering of the victim
- Mental anguish and emotional distress suffered by the survivor of the decedent
- Loss of companionship, love, care or protection
- Loss of inheritance
- Punitive damages, intended to punish wrongdoers and prevent them from harming others
Bottom line: as much as we'd rather not face the practical reality of the loss of a family member, it does have serious financial repercussions. But money is the last thing you want to be thinking about when you're dealing with the loss of a family member. You want to be free to mourn your family member, and decide how to live your life going forward.
A Jackson or Ridgeland wrongful death attorney can help. Kobs & Philley, PLLC have the experience and sensitivity to help resolve your wrongful death case, while you can focus on laying your beloved family member to rest and the day-to-day activities of your life. Don't let someone else's negligence further ruin your peace of mind. Personal injury attorneys Jared A. Kobs and Benjamin N. Philley can help. Take advantage of our NO OBLIGATION, FREE CONSULTATION. Ask us questions. We will provide straight answers and explain what we can do for you and how we can help you during this stressful time. You can contact us online or call us today at 601-856-7800 or 1-877-856-0330 for a FREE CONSULTATION.
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