What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim?
One of the most emotionally traumatic events is the death of family member caused by the negligent conduct of some other person. Legally, an accident that result in the death of another individual can result in what is known as a wrongful death claim.
If you have lost a family member in an accident caused by the negligence of some other party, you need to understand your legal rights and how to pursue a wrongful death claim. In addition, you need to understand the crucial importance of retaining the services of a skilled, capable, and experienced wrongful death lawyer.
The Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim
- There are four primary elements associated with a wrongful death claim. The first element is what legally is known as a duty of care.
A duty of care imposes on a party the responsibility to exercise reasonable care. For example, a person has the duty to operate a motor vehicle with reasonable care on a public roadway.
- The second element of a wrongful death case is demonstrating a breach of a duty of care. An example of a breach of a duty of care is a person speeding while driving an automobile.
- The third element in a wrongful death claim is establishing what legally is known as proximate cause. Proximate cause is a legal term that means the conduct of a party must be the legal and actual or factual cause of an accident and the associated injuries.
- Finally, the last element of a wrongful death case is a person making a claim must have suffered real injuries, damages, or losses. Injuries, damages, or losses cannot be merely speculative.
A skilled, seasoned wrongful death attorney understands the strategies to employ to satisfy the four elements associated with pursuing a wrongful death case. Each of these elements must be proven in order for a wrongful death case to succeed.
Family Members Who Can Pursue a Wrongful Death Claim
When it comes to the foundation of what constitutes a wrongful death claim, only certain family members can pursue this type of legal remedy. The laws of each individual state in the United States establish which family members of deceased person can pursue a wrongful death case.
Examples of family members who are positioned to pursue a wrongful death claim include spouses, children, parents, and, in some instances, siblings. In some states, the estate of a deceased individual can pursue a wrongful death case.
Compensation in a Wrongful Death Case
The compensation possible in a wrongful death case is governed by the circumstances and facts surrounding the accident. In addition, relationship between the deceased person and the family member seeking justice is part of the evaluation.
With this in mind, some of the types of losses for which a family member seeks compensation in a wrongful death case include last medical bills, funeral expenses, lost income or support, and lost companionship. In some cases, punitive or exemplary damages may be awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Punitive damages are additional compensation awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit when the conduct of the party causing the accident in question is deemed particularly reckless or egregious.
Retain an Experienced Wrongful Death Lawyer
The first step in hiring a wrongful death lawyer Minneapolis MN relies on is what is known as an initial consultation. Through an initial consultation, you obtain an evaluation of a case. In an initial consultation, you are able to present any questions you might have about your claim and about wrongful death law. As a matter of common practice, there is no attorney fee charged for an initial appointment with a wrongful death attorney.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Johnston Martineau PLLP for their insight into wrongful death cases.