Before we begin it is important to realize several factors. We are talking about wrongful death claims in regards to civil actions. This article excludes information about criminal procedures, although the same party can be charged with wrongful death claims in civil and justice court. Secondly, each state has different rules and regulations in regards to how and when you can file a wrongful death claim. These rules are commonly referred to as statues. Statues, declare policy and govern how and when your claim must be filed. These policies vary from state to state, so we would highly recommend speaking with a wrongful death attorney that is licensed in the jurisdiction of your incident to help ensure everything is handled by the books.
Wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of the direct result of the actions of another. That person or entity then becomes the liable party, and a civil action ensues. The claimant must meet a certain standard of proof in order to be eligible to file a wrongful death claim. The following list is the 6 things your wrongful death claim needs.
- The death of a person: You must provide proof of the death of a person. Typically this is a death certificate signed by a coroner.
- Immediate family members: Under common law, a deceased person cannot bring a suit. Eligible parties to act on behalf of the deceased party include spouses, parents, and children. In some state grandparents and extended family members may also be eligible.
- Documentation of loss: This includes anything written that can be linked as a direct financial loss due to the wrongful death. Including medical bills, funeral and burial expenses, loss of support, and loss of benefits such as insurance. It is essential to keep as detailed records and logs as possible.
- Personal damages: This includes and photographs, journals, diaries, and videos that can help establish a loss of love, companionship, care, assistance or any other non-monetary way in which the surviving parties have been damaged.
- Applicable evidence: This includes any police records, accident reports, witness statements, investigations, and in certain cases such as medical malpractice expert witness statements.
Wrongful death claims cover a wide arena of fields and regulations. It is our hope that this little cheat-sheet gives you some idea of materials you will need to gather when speaking with a wrongful death lawyer. If you have any further questions about the world of wrongful death claims we invite you to please contact our office with your questions.