Understanding how wrongful death claims work

While losing a loved one is already a tragic and emotional ordeal, when this death is needlessly caused by the careless, negligent or outright malicious actions of another, it simply compounds your misery.

However, it is important to remember that you may be able to hold these negligent individuals accountable for their actions by filing a wrongful death claim.

An overview of wrongful death claims

So what exactly is a wrongful death claim, you may ask? Well, essentially, a wrongful death claim is a lawsuit filed by the family members of someone who has died as a result of the "wrongful actions" of another person or company.

Some common examples of wrongful death claims may include instances in which family members die because:

  • Careless motorists — including texting and drunk drivers — cause serious car accidents
  • Negligent, fatigued or drunk truckers cause trucking accidents
  • Trucking companies don't properly maintain their trucks or fail to sufficiently vet their drivers
  • Companies create or manufacture dangerous or defective products, including asbestos and dangerous or defective prescription drugs
  • Hospital/medical staff, including nursing home staff, are negligent or abusive
  • Work-related accidents or illnesses, including situations in which the family member is exposed to toxic or dangerous materials such as asbestos

Typically, wrongful death claims are filed by the immediate family members of the individual who died, including his or her spouse, children or parents — although others may be able to file a claim in certain situations. These family members may be able to seek compensation following the wrongful death of a loved one, including damages to cover lost wages of the deceased, lost companionship and funeral expenses.

However, filing a wrongful death claim can be a complex process, which is why it is always best to seek experienced legal guidance should you have any questions.