When Is a Death Considered Wrongful?
When someone dies, surviving loved ones are left to suffer. Nearly all deaths result in emotional and financial losses. However, not all deaths are legally classified as wrongful. If someone is considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit after a loved one has passed away, it is important to understand when a death is considered wrongful.
When determining the merits of a wrongful death claim, lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau consider a few key factors. Individuals in the Daytona Beach, FL, and Palm Coast, FL, area who want to know if they may be due damages for a wrongful death can begin by asking themselves the following questions.
Was the Death Preventable?
One of the essential elements of a wrongful death is that the death was preventable. That is to say that, if the event that led to the death had not occurred, the death would not have happened. Furthermore, the event that led to the death was avoidable, or could have been prevented. For example, if someone dies of a heart attack, that would likely not be considered a wrongful death, because there are rarely preventable actions that lead to a heart attack. However, if someone dies as the result of a car accident, a slip or fall, a workplace accident, or a violent attack, that would generally be defined as a wrongful death, since those situations are often preventable.
Is Another Person or Party Responsible for the Death?
For the court to consider a death as wrongful, there must be a person or party who is responsible for the death. The actions that lead to the death do not have to be intentional for a wrongful death claim to be filed. As long as it can be demonstrated that the reckless or negligent actions of another person or party caused the accident or event that resulted in the death of the deceased, then it is classified as a wrongful death.
Could a Personal Injury Suit Be Filed Had the Injured Party Survived?
A wrongful death lawsuit allows surviving loved ones to pursue damages for their own personal losses, as well as the losses suffered by the deceased. So a simple way to consider whether the death was wrongful is to consider whether the injured party would have had grounds to file a personal injury claim if they had survived their injuries. If the answer is yes, then our Daytona Beach lawyers can assist descendants of the deceased in filing a wrongful death claim.
Did the Death Result in Economic and/or Non-economic Damages?
The purpose of a wrongful death claim is to hold liable parties accountable for the economic and non-economic losses related to a death. As such, plaintiffs in a wrongful death suit must be able to show that damages were suffered. This is not difficult, since nearly every death results in emotional and financial losses. Areas of loss may include medical expenses, lost source of benefits and/or income, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium (companionship).
Contact Chanfrau & Chanfrau
If you would like more information about whether a loved one’s death can be classified as wrongful, the lawyers at Chanfrau & Chanfrau would be happy to meet with you and discuss your case. To schedule a personal consultation with our legal team, contact our practice online, or call (386) 258-7313 at your earliest convenience.