Wrongful Death Cases
Normally in a personal injury case, if the injured person dies, they lose their right to sue. The theory behind this is that their cause of action is for their personal pain and suffering. Once the injured party dies, they no longer benefit from payment for pain and suffering and, as the expression goes: Their cause of action dies with them.
But what does the poor family do after a loved one is wrongfully killed by a negligent party? In fact, a new action "arises" out of the death of the family member. This new action, called a "wrongful death action" belongs to the living family member or members of the decedent. This new action may take several different forms, but does not replace the original personal injury case.
First, the decedent's estate may have incurred damages for the death of their loved one. These damages could include funeral or burial costs, medical bills or other expenses. These costs or expenses could be covered in a wrongful death action. Such out of pocket expenses would be the responsibility of the negligent party who caused the death and the resulting expenses.
If the decedent supported any or all of the remaining family members, a wrongful death action could be brought based upon a loss of support. The decedent can no longer provide financial support for his living family members and such support can be part of the new wrongful death action. In the case of young family members, this can be a very significant amount of money.
A widow or widower may be able to recover damages for loss of consortium as a result of a wrongful death. Loss of consortium is the loss of support that was provided by the decedent to the surviving relative. Generally, loss of consortium claims are brought by marriage partners after the loss of their spouse. A claim for lost consortium can become very personal to the claimant and should be discussed thoroughly with the lawyer before embarking on such a cause of action. The reasons for this are because the claim necessitates getting into some very personal aspects of the married relationship including, but not limited to sexual relationships, personal interactions, and other feelings and emotions between the decedent and the claimant.
Wrongful death cases are extremely personal and sensitive. The obvious reason that the claim involves the death of a family member makes the cause of action subject to sensitive personal areas. When suffering from the loss of a loved one, family members are not often comfortable discussing these matters fully with anyone, much less a lawyer. However, a full discussion with your lawyer could truly help to shape the wrongful death claim into a lucrative action that is well worthwhile to pursue. Speak to your lawyer about all of the implications of such a claim before starting it.
If you have questions about a wrongful death claim or any other injury or accident claim, please call me:
Attorney Jeffrey Vallens (818) 783-5700 or (888) 764-4340 or
Email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my sites: