Wrongful death refers to an unnecessary death that was caused by the negligence or carelessness of a third party. These deaths are highly avoidable, so when they do occur, they are that much more tragic. Here are some answers to a few frequently asked questions about wrongful deaths and wrongful death lawsuits.
The laws for who may file a wrongful death lawsuit vary from state to state, but typically are restricted to a close family member. These usually include spouses, children, and parents, but can also be extended to include grandparents, legal guardians, and other relatives. Wrongful death lawsuits are filed in civil court, therefore one family member cannot file a wrongful death lawsuit against another blood related family member for the death of a third family member. To clarify, a son cannot sue his mother for the wrongful death of his father.
A wrongful death lawsuit can involve a death by murder or manslaughter, but being tried for wrongful death and being tried for murder or manslaughter are not the same thing. When someone is on trial for murder or manslaughter, they are being prosecuted in a criminal case and may be penalized with jail time. But a wrongful death lawsuit is a civil matter, not a criminal matter, so the plaintiff is only seeking monetary damages instead of punishment for the defendant.
The amount of damages awarded in a wrongful death lawsuit is not always predictable or easy to determine. The survivors of the deceased can request compensation for funeral costs, medical bills, and lost future earnings in their lawsuit. Sometimes things like lost future earnings or the monetary value of pain and suffering are difficult to estimate.
If someone close to you has been a victim of wrongful death, contact the Green Bay wrongful death attorneys of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 800-242-2874 to discuss your case and to determine your legal options.