Accident victims injured by the negligence of others may bring a personal injury lawsuit against the responsible party and recover monetary damages. But what happens when an accident is fatal?
Wrongful death refers to a legal term used to describe a situation where an individual dies as a result of someone else’s negligence, misconduct, or wrongful act. It is a civil claim brought by the surviving family members or representatives of the deceased person against the responsible party. Wrongful death claims aim to seek compensation for the losses and damages suffered by the surviving family members due to the untimely death of their loved one.
Wrongful death from medical malpractice occurs when a patient dies as a result of negligence, errors, or omissions by healthcare professionals or medical institutions. These cases involve situations where the healthcare provider fails to meet the accepted standard of care, resulting in the death of the patient.
What Damages Can Be Recovered in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Wrongful death lawsuits can seek two types of compensation: economic damages and non-economic damages.
• Economic damages include lost earnings, support and services, funeral expenses, and medical expenses.
• Non-economic damages include compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering, from the time they were injured up until their death. Family members may also receive pain and suffering damages to compensate them for their emotional distress arising from a loved one’s death.
Typically, wrongful death lawsuits are filed by the person named in the will of the deceased to administer their estate. But state laws vary on who is authorized to pursue a wrongful death claim. Circumstances can also dictate who may be considered a legitimate party of interest. Eligible individuals may include:
• The deceased’s spouse and children
• The parents of the deceased (if they are unmarried and have no dependents)
• The financial dependents of domestic partners
• Other family members, including siblings and grandparents
Milberg’s Wrongful Death Practice Group
The loss of a loved one is among the most difficult things a person can experience. That loss is especially difficult to accept when it happens suddenly and unexpectedly, or when it is the fault of someone else. While winning a wrongful death claim can never take the place of the departed, it can provide a measure of justice and ease any financial struggles related to the tragedy.
Milberg’s Wrongful Death Practice Group attorneys rely on their experience and a compassionate, client-centered approach to help dependents navigate the challenges of litigating on behalf of the deceased’s estate. Whether negotiating with the defendant’s insurance company or presenting evidence to a jury, Milberg attorneys are skilled and experienced in handling wrongful death claims. Our team will work tirelessly to optimize the outcome for the parties who have suffered the loss of a loved one, knowing resolution will provide closure and relief for dependents.
For cases that settle outside of court, the amount of damages is arrived at by negotiations, in the context of relevant statutes and case law—and available insurance amounts. Cases that go to trial are decided by a jury. And recent outcomes show that juries are awarding higher wrongful death verdicts than in past years. According to a report from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “nuclear verdicts”—defined as jury verdicts of $10 million or more—are on the rise.
Milberg attorneys will work with our network of experts to calculate the value of a wrongful death claim, support these complex calculations with strong evidence, and recuperate the physical and emotional loss on behalf of the representative parties.