litigation guardian definition
Wrongful Death: a Definition
We hear about it in the news every day. Drunken driving accidents, construction accidents, murder, and medical malpractice. The list goes on. Itâs enough to make one wonder if there is any good news out there. While we hear about the event, and a little about the victim through family and friends, we rarely hear about how the loved ones are coping with these situations. Yes, itâs hard. Yes, itâs painful. But what about the mothers who have to care for three young children by themselves, or the teenagers who lose both parents at once? How are they piecing their lives back together?
Wrongful death is generally defined as a death caused by another personâs inaction, negligence, recklessness, or through malpractice. They may also be caused by another personâs maliciousness, as in the case of murder. And what goes on in the months or even years after the death of a loved one is just as important as what goes on days after. But many forget about these people. They forget that there are bills to pay, food to buy, and many other factors that go into basic necessities. Oftentimes, their only recourse is to file a wrongful death claim against the individual or business that may have been responsible for the death. Each state has its own set of laws to cover civil litigation. There are no laws in place for federal statutes regarding wrongful death.
Who May File
While the laws of who may file a wrongful death claim vary from state to state, immediate family members are nearly always eligible. Spouses, parents, and children fall into this category. In some cases, minors may be able to file on behalf of their parents, but may need an adult guardian to bring the lawsuit. Grandparents, stepparents, or other dependents may also be able to file a claim.
The individual who has died, the decedent, will most likely have surviving family members. The immediate family, the distributees, is entitled to monetary damages as a result of the defendantâs negligent conduct. A suit may only be brought by the personal executive, or executor, of the decedentâs estate. However, personal injury, conscious pain and suffering, or expenses that were incurred prior to death are often brought to court as well.
When a wrongful death suit is brought to court, the following damages may be covered depending on the circumstances:
â¢ Lost wages (includes future earnings)
â¢ Lost inheritance
â¢ Lost benefits
â¢ Loss of support and companionship
â¢ Medical and funeral costs
â¢ Mental anguish
â¢ General damages
â¢ Punitive damages
Statute of Limitations
The amount of time one has to file a wrongful death claim also varies from state to state. A general span of time is usually one to three years, though there have been cases where ten years have passed before a claim was brought forward. If the statute of limitations has passed, the claim may be barred.
If you have lost a loved one through some kind of negligence brought about by another individual or entity, you should retain a lawyer as soon as possible. If you are in the Dallas or Houston, Texas area,
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