Abingdon, Bristol and Johnson City
Losing a loved one is never easy and often is a devastating experience. The pain of the death of a beloved family member or friend can be especially difficult to endure when their death could have been prevented. If someone you love has died because of the negligence or recklessness of another individual or party, this is known as wrongful death.
A wrongful death lawsuit, filed by the estate of the deceased, is a legal claim. Once the claim is filed, a burden of proof must be proven, which is done so by the lawyer representing the estate. Then, the lawyer must prove that the defendant has legal responsibility for their negligent or reckless actions, which in this case, caused the death of the individual.
If a wrongful death lawsuit succeeds, the surviving family of the victim typically receives financial compensation, which is awarded to cover any funeral expenses, as well as to compensate for any pain and suffering among the family members caused by the negligent behavior. Compensation also can cover medical expenses that were incurred prior to death or be paid to help support a spouse, life partner, child, or other close family member who was financially dependent on the deceased individual.
Actions that can lead to a wrongful death suit being filed can include any of the following:
- Negligence – Defined as a mistake that should have been detected, but was not, leading to some sort of harmful consequence for another individual. Any death caused by medical malpractice is classified as a case of negligence. Medical malpractice can occur in the case of a misdiagnosis, a surgical error, or a prescription error. If you believe medical malpractice has led to a death of one of your family members, you should seek out the services of an attorney who is well versed in the specifics of medical malpractice law.
- Reckless negligence – Applies to any case where the negligent party is aware of the risk involved with their actions. For example, reckless negligence would apply if another person were killed in a car accident where the other driver was operating the vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
- Intentional action – A death occurring as the result of a physical act, assault, or attack. Even the infliction of emotional distress that lead to the death could be a reason to file a wrongful death lawsuit. It is important to note that a wrongful death suit is not the same thing as a murder charge where the plaintiff is either the state government or federal government. Any murder case will be held in criminal court, whereas wrongful death is a civil matter where the plaintiff is the family and/or estate of the deceased individual.
Each state has its own specific set of laws dictating who may file a wrongful death suit. Wrongful death is also a challenging type of civil law with a substantial burden of proof that the plaintiff attorney is responsible for proving. This makes it crucial to find legal representation that has experience in wrongful death claims, and also a proven track record of success in civil legal matters.
Nothing can bring back a beloved family member, but if you believe you have a case of wrongful death, you deserve and are entitled to compensation. Ready to learn more? Contact the Law Offices of Michael R. Munsey, P.C., by calling us at (276) 451-2056 to schedule a free consultation.
With more than three decades of experience in the legal profession, the Law Offices of Michael R. Munsey, P.C., serve clients in Bristol, Kingsport and Johnson City, TN, as well as Bristol, VA.