Wrongful Death Claims: What You Need to Know
We don’t always know where to begin when the unfathomable happens. The sudden and accidental death of a loved one is often traumatic, and heartbreaking. It’s something that no one is ever consciously prepared for. In the event that you find yourself in this unfortunate situation, it is important that you know your rights. If it becomes your responsibility to ensure your family’s financial stability during this difficult time, the best thing you can do is contact a trusted Lawyer. Though no amount of financial compensation can bring back the life that was lost, it is your legal right to file a civil lawsuit to seek monetary damages. Whether your loved one was in a car accident or suffered a fatal medical malpractice, Personal Injury Lawyers effectively help clients file wrongful death claims, and they do everything they can to ensure the case is successful.
Types of Wrongful Death Claims
The plaintiff can claim damages such as pain and suffering of the victim prior to their death, hospital fees, funeral and burial costs, loss of current and future family income. The plaintiff can also claim other factors causing financial or emotional strain on the family of the victim.
The legal representatives of the plaintiff (the plaintiff is usually a close family member of the deceased) must prove the death was caused by the negligence of the defendant. If the defendant was driving recklessly over the speed limit, causing an accident resulting in a fatality, they would be considered at fault.
Breach of Duty
In order for wrongful death claims to be granted, it must be proven that the individual(s) in the wrong had a duty to the plaintiff. Using the example of the reckless driver, their duty to follow road safety rules was breached. They chose not to obey the law, which classifies the situation as a breach of duty claim.
Similar to proving negligence on the defendant’s part, causation requires proof that the defendant’s actions caused the death of the victim.
Who is Eligible to Make a Claim?
When people write a will, they often name a designated person to file a wrongful death claim (if their death was accidental) on behalf of the family. If the deceased person did not have a will, any eligible family member can file the claim.
The spouse of the victim as well as the children have the legal right to seek compensation for any financial and emotional losses caused by the defendant.
In some cases, depending on the caregiving arrangements, siblings and grandparents may have the right to file a lawsuit.
In the tragic case that a newborn dies after being born alive, the parents can take legal action to cover financial and emotional damages.
Financial Dependents and Life Partners
Life partners can also file a wrongful death claim for their companion, as the law recognizes common-law couples and putative spouses. Financial dependents can include children over the age of 18, as well as adults who have a disability.
Remember that you do not have to go through this process alone. Our legal team always has your best interest in mind. For more information about lawsuit settlements, you can refer to the Family Law Act of Ontario. When you’re ready to take legal action, we’re here to help. Feel free to give us a call.