If the reckless actions of another person caused a loved one’s death, it may feel as if there is no way to process or heal. It can be even more difficult if the party or parties that caused the death refuse to take responsibility for their actions. However, a compassionate attorney may be able to help you file a wrongful death lawsuit.
Filing such a suit can be daunting, especially if the responsible party is a company with access to extensive legal resources. However, a dedicated Bowling Green wrongful death lawyer should understand how to address these cases and could provide insight into achieving a successful outcome.
Elements of a Successful Wrongful Death Suit
To achieve a satisfactory result in a wrongful death lawsuit, certain legal elements must usually be established. First, it must be proven that an individual died—a generally straightforward step, provided surviving family aids in formally acknowledging it. The plaintiff—or their Bowling Green wrongful death attorney—must also establish that the death is the result of the negligence or carelessness of another individual or entity.
The plaintiff must prove the death causes the surviving family members to suffer financially. Often, losing a loved one means losing access to that individual’s income. This may be particularly devasting if the deceased is the primary breadwinner for a family.
Finally, the suit must be filed by a representative of the estate of the deceased. Representatives are most commonly the decedent’s surviving spouse or immediate family members. In some cases, however, anyone named in the will may be able to file. A Bowling Green wrongful death lawyer could confirm whether an individual could file as a representative.
Some mistakes are unavoidable tragedies. However, according to the law, there is an inherent duty everyone who goes out in public holds to ensure the safety of others. For example, drivers have a duty to ensure the safety of others by driving carefully. If a driver becomes heavily intoxicated and operates a vehicle, they are not taking their duty of care into consideration, and if they harm another person, they can be held liable.
In some cases, a wrongful death could result in criminal charges being brought against the responsible party. However, these cases are processed criminally. A representative of the decedent’s estate would still need to file a civil suit to recover monetary damages.
What Compensation Do Survivors Generally Seek?
Since the deceased person cannot bring a case before the court, a representative of their estate would be tasked with filing a lawsuit on their behalf. If a family member does not wish to be named as this representative, the court could appoint another willing relative in their place. Usually, these survivors may seek compensation for:
- Medical bills
- Lost income
- Everyday living expenses
- Emotional turmoil
- Funeral costs
Unexpected wrongful deaths can place immense financial strain on even the most affluent family, and without compensation, a household may face the prospect of surviving on limited income. However, survivors also suffer from living without their loved one. This could lead to an emptiness in life, the onset of depression and other mental disorders, and a loss of enjoyment—all of which could potentially be claimed as additional intangible damages.
Wrongful Death Statutes of Limitations
Wrongful death cases usually have a window of time in which a person can file a lawsuit, known as the statute of limitations. These limits are set to prevent individuals from threatening others indefinitely with lawsuits. However, if a Bowling Green resident does not file within the appropriate window of time, the court may refuse to hear their case.
For this reason, it is often important for individuals to consult a Bowling Green wrongful death lawyer and take legal action as soon as possible. Knowledgeable legal counsel may be able to provide additional information on filing, what compensation is typically sought or awarded, and how to quantify damages that may not have a clear monetary value.
Contact a Bowling Green Wrongful Death Attorney Today
If you are still reeling from the death of a loved one, the last thing you may consider is legal action. However, if your loved one’s death could have been avoided, those responsible should be held accountable for their actions. Connect with a Bowling Green wrongful death lawyer at your earliest convenience to discuss the events surrounding the death and find if you may be eligible to recover.