Has a loved one been killed due someone else's actions? If so you may have a claim to a wrongful death suit. Wrongful Death is defined as when a person dies or is killed due to the negligence or misconduct of another, including murder. Most wrongful death lawsuits follow a criminal trial, and will use similar evidence in the case, but a wrongful death lawsuit has a lower standard of proof. In some cases a defendant may be found not guilty in a murder trial due to the prosecution being able to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, but can be found guilty in a wrongful death suit if it can be proved that the defendants negligence caused the injuries.
In order to bring about a successful wrongful death lawsuit the following must be present:
The death of a human being
A person has had to have died due to someone else's actions. It varies from state to state as to whether or not the death of an unborn fetus constitutes a wrongful death.
Caused by another's negligence
The death has to be a result of someone's actions, whether or not there was an intent to cause harm. Some examples are medical malpractice, car or airplane accident, and deaths resulting from criminal activity including murder.
Surviving family members suffered monetary injury
Typically, this can be viewed as loss of household income due to a family member's death, but can also include the death of a stay at home spouse resulting in financial burden. Medical and funeral expenses may be included in the lawsuit.
A personal representative of the defendant's estate
A wrongful death lawsuit can only be brought up by the legal representative of the deceased estate. In cases where both the defendant and plaintiff passed away, a wrongful death suit may be brought against the defendant's estate if the defendants actions caused both deaths, an example would a car accident where both parties are killed.
In Nebraska, a wrongful death claim must be filed within two years of the deceased person's death. A number of factors may affect the statute of limitations in a case. If you believe a loved one has been killed due to the negligence of another or a company, please contact us to set up a consultation.