What Constitutes a Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim is a specific type of personal injury case in which the wronged party has died as a result of the negligence. For this reason, a certain family member is designated to be the personal representative, or the individual representing the deceased in filing the claim. Each state has different restrictions as to who may serve as the personal representative, but this person is usually the executor of the deceased person’s will, and may be a spouse, child, or another blood relative of the deceased.

While a Boston wrongful death attorney can explain how local laws affect this type of claim, there are certain elements that comprise all wrongful death claims. Just as is true of any personal injury claim, you must be able to show that the defendant owed a duty of care to the victim, and that the duty of care was breached. A duty of care may be something as simple as following traffic laws, or it may be a more complex duty, such as ensuring an amusement park ride is safe and in good working condition.

Breaching the duty of care means that you can show the defendant’s inaction or deliberate acts caused the death of the victim. An example of a negligent act may be running a stop sign, while a deliberate act can involve pushing someone into oncoming traffic. In either case, the actions of the defendant directly caused the individual’s death.

You must also be able to show that, as the personal representative, you and other family members have suffered financial hardships as a result of the death. Often, this begins with claiming compensation for the medical, funeral, and burial costs associated with caring for the deceased individual. You may also claim a loss of income, if the deceased individual had been responsible for supporting you, or other family members. There are many other types of damages you can seek in a wrongful death claim, depending on your specific situation. By consulting a wrongful death lawyer, you can learn more about obtaining the money you need to financially recover from this tragedy.