How to Seek Compensation After the Death of a Loved One Due to Negligence

By Swindon Link - 11 April 2024

Opinion and Features

Dealing with the death of a loved one is difficult to bear, let alone when it is caused by the negligence of another person. This brings about a lot of strong emotions, including fear, anger, and despair. In cases when a person dies because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness, it is considered a wrongful death. In most cases, you can pursue a wrongful death claim if you are a close family member or representative of the decedent. So, it is important to know how to deal with all legal aspects of this case, which can ultimately lead to just compensation and closure for this unfortunate event.



Who can file this claim?


The first step in filing a wrongful death claim is identifying who has the right to sue the parties at fault. These include:


  • Domestic partners and spouses

  • Grandchildren, if no children are living, or children of the dead person

  • Stepchildren 

  • Financial dependents

  • Those who are legally entitled to the decedent’s assets.


Calculating potential damages


You will need to determine the amount of damages that you can recover. Typically, family members and dependents of the deceased person may seek compensation through a wrongful death claim. All kinds of damages, monetary and otherwise, fall into this category, and some of them include:


  • Financial assistance from the deceased family member

  • The sum needed for the medical costs and burial

  • Expenses associated with filling in for the deceased’s usual domestic duties 

  • Loss of companionship

  • Anguish and distress resulting from a loved one’s death.


The process of determining damages may be complex and perplexing if you do not have the assistance of a skilled wrongful death lawyer. The court can deny your claim if you seek damages that are not qualified. 


Seek legal help


To win a personal injury claim involving a wrongful death, the plaintiff must provide evidence of a qualifying connection with the decedent as well as financial losses (such as lost wages or support). Because of this, it is important to work with a qualified wrongful death attorney who can analyze all aspects of your case and determine whether suing for damages in wrongful death will be successful. After the unimaginable occurs, it is normal to feel confused and desperate. So, you should get in touch with an attorney without delay. There are time limits within which you must submit your claim, and a legal representative will make sure you get full payment for your losses. They will handle the claims with the utmost care and concern for you and your recovery, allowing you to concentrate on getting well.


Punitive vs. compensatory damages


Punitive damages are different from compensation damages because they are a special kind of civil law judgment. They are often handed out when it is proven that the offender has committed a heinous crime, such as acting carelessly against other people. Punitive damages aim to deter and punish the offender for their crime. The stakes are high since this legal remedy can result in greater judgments than compensatory damages, and punitive damages can guarantee justice is delivered in any case. 


Who can be sued for wrongful death?


Those who can be sued for wrongful death often include:


  • Drivers responsible for accidents

  • Businesses responsible for creating faulty products

  • Businesses that sell alcohol to drunk drivers who cause fatal accidents 

  • Businesses that do not disclose the potential dangers of their products

  • People responsible for designing faulty roads

  • Government agencies that fail to alert the public of potentially dangerous road conditions

  • Healthcare practitioners who engaged in unethical practices

  • Employers of people who caused another person’s death (for example, a hospital that hires a doctor who caused the death of the patient).



How long does the settlement take?


Settlement times for wrongful death claims may range widely. Some may be resolved in a matter of months, while others may last for years. Thoroughly investigating the case and collecting evidence takes time. A plaintiff needs to have a thorough understanding of the events leading up to the settlement, including who was at fault. 


Also, insurance companies will usually offer a low-ball settlement, while your lawyer believes you deserve more. This negotiation can also take a lot of time before it finally concludes a wrongful death case. 


Statute of limitations


You must file a wrongful death case within a certain time limit, which is established by the statute of limitations. The exact period maybe two years from the date of death, but it can vary in some states. The statute of limitations may not start running if you were unaware of the medical misconduct that caused the death. The clock won’t start ticking until you get the autopsy report, usually two months after the death. Your claim will be forever barred from further consideration if you wait to file it until the statute of limitations has expired. So, you must follow the guidelines of your attorney and respect all possible deadlines to ensure everything is done timely and promptly. 


Who pays the damages?


Insurance companies are usually the ones who must pay the compensation in this case. For example, if your loved one died in a car accident, the insurance company of the guilty driver will have to pay for all the damages. Also, the defendant may be held liable individually for a portion or the whole amount of losses if their insurance coverage is inadequate or does not cover the full amount. 


What if the decedent didn’t have a job?


A wrongful death case might seek compensation for a decedent who was unemployed at the time of their death. It is still possible to file a claim for the decedent’s medical expenses, pain and suffering, loss of future earnings, and loss of companionship.


The hardship of going through the death of a loved person is something you never wish for anyone to happen. Unfortunately, such cases do happen, and coping with them is much harder than one may think. Having a legal representative by your side to guide you on the proper steps to take can ensure you get the proper compensation for your loss and suffering, as well as fight for the justice you and your loved one deserve.


Subscribe to The Link

Registered in England & Wales. No: 4513027, Positive Media Group, Old Bank House, 5 Devizes Road, Old Town, Swindon, SN1 4BJ