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A wrongful death is an emotional and painful experience for the surviving friends and family of the deceased. The death of a loved one is bad enough, but the knowledge that it was caused by an act of negligence makes the situation even worse. It just makes the passing of their loved one feel even more senseless. There is not much for the survivors to do other than come together and give each other the support that they need to get through this painful time in their lives.

The only other course of action that they can take is to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the decedent (the person who passed away). A lawsuit can help to make sure that the close survivors of the decedent are financially secure and do not have to bear an economic burden in addition to the emotional one they are dealing with. A wrongful death attorney will provide the help you need in this difficult time. If you live in the Orlando area, then you can visit to find out how they can help you.

What Are the Elements of a Wrongful Death?

Aside from the death itself, there are certain elements that need to be present for a case to be considered a wrongful death. They are essentially the same elements that are present in a personal injury case, the main difference being that the accident resulted in death, rather than an injury. This also means that negligence plays a big role in many wrongful death cases. The elements of a wrongful death case are as follows:

  • The person who caused the accident owed the victim a duty of care. That basically means that the defendant was supposed to act in a reasonable and law-abiding manner that shows concern and care for others. For example, a motorist shows a duty of care to everyone else on the road by following the rules of the road and driving in a cautious and attentive way.
  • The defendant breached the duty of care owed to the accident victim. 
  • The breach of duty directly led to the victim’s injury and eventually, their death.

These elements usually need to be there before a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed. One big exception is when a person intentionally kills another. In such a case, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed alongside the criminal charges. That is because the goal of each charge is different; a criminal charge is about punitive measures such as fines or jail time, while a wrongful death suit is about getting financial recompense for the death of the victim.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is filed by a representative of the estate of the decedent. That representative will file it on behalf of the survivors of the deceased. The survivors on whose behalf the claim can be filed differs depending on the state in which it is filed. However, in all states the surviving spouse, parents of a minor child, and minors who lost one or both parents can get a wrongful death claim filed in their name. 

It is in other relations and circumstances where the states start to show their differences. Some states allow parents of adult children or adult children to pursue a wrongful death claim, while others do not. The siblings of the decedent are allowed to file a claim in some states but not others. Different states also have different rules about extended relatives like cousins, aunts and uncles, and grandparents. 

What a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Covers

A personal injury lawsuit covers the expenses caused by the accident such as medical expenses, repair bills, and so forth. A wrongful death suit does the same, except the survivors are the ones who receive the compensation. Overall, the compensation from a wrongful death suit can be divided into economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include things like funeral expenses, medical bills the decedent received before they passed, and similar quantifiable expenses.

Non-economic damages include things like the loss of companionship, the pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before they died, the loss of care and guidance, and the loss of consortium. 

Contact a Personal Injury Attorney if a Loved One Suffered a Wrongful Death

Financial compensation will not ease the grief experienced by the survivors of the deceased, but it does mean that they will have one less thing to worry about. So be sure to get in touch with a personal injury attorney if you have recently lost someone close to you because of a wrongful death. They will take care of the legal matters while you and the rest of the survivors take care of each other.

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