What exactly is a wrongful death?

On Behalf of | Apr 23, 2024 | Wrongful Death

The premature passing of a loved one is a tragedy. Someone may have expected decades more with their spouse or years of a parent’s support until they are old enough to live independently. Those who have lost a loved one often struggle to cope with their grief and may experience permanent changes in their circumstances and personality because of their loss.

Occasionally, someone’s death is not just a tragedy. It could also be a wrongful death. It is theoretically possible to take legal action when a death was not just premature but also wrongful. What separates the average passing from a wrongful death?

A wrongful death is the fault of another party

To pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, plaintiffs need certain evidence. First, they must prove that someone died due to a specific situation. Second, they must establish that a business or individual was responsible for that situation. That responsibility must meet a specific standard for the death to be actionable under the law. While the language of state statutes is slightly different in Indiana and Illinois, the same general premise applies in both states.

A death is wrongful when there is a duty of care and one party is negligent. Failure to properly monitor someone’s condition in a medical environment, for example, is a scenario in which there is a duty of care and where negligence could prove deadly. Someone’s passing could also be a wrongful death when it is the result of illegal activity or misconduct. If someone drives while drunk and causes a crash, they know that their actions violated the law. If another person dies because of that collision, those left behind may have the grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.

How wrongful death lawsuits can help surviving loved ones

Individuals grieving the death of a close family member often want a sense of closure. The civil courts can help someone feel as though justice has been served by ruling that a business or another person was the cause of someone’s death. Additionally, wrongful death lawsuits help diminish the economic impact that someone’s death has on surviving family members. Wrongful death lawsuits can lead to compensation for medical expenses and someone’s future income.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit requires courage and the right support. Those who recognize when another party might be liable for a tragedy can take appropriate legal action in response to their loss.

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