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Have a Deceased Relative? How to Know If You Should File a Wrongful Death Claim

Written by Adams

When a person dies, his or her death may not necessarily be intentional. However, even if a death is ruled an accident, one or more parties could have been negligent in causing it. If a parent, sibling or other family member has died, you may have grounds to pursue a wrongful death suit.

Was a Duty of Care Breached?

One of the elements that must be shown when pursuing a negligence claim is that a duty of care existed that was breached. For instance, a doctor has a duty to provide quality care to a patient. An employer has the duty to provide a safe working environment to employees. If you think that you can prove that a death could have been avoided if steps were taken to intervene in time, it may be worth filing a wrongful death suit.

Was Negligence the Main Cause of Death?

Let’s say that your relative was involved in a car crash and succumbed to his or her injuries. The other driver could be liable in a wrongful death suit if that person was speeding or impaired at the time of the crash. However, if that relative had a heart attack minutes before the accident, it would likely be ruled that the other driver is not liable for damages for wrongful death.

Did the Accident Take Place at Work?

In many cases, accidents that happen at construction sites or other workplaces that result in an employee’s death are handled through the workers’ compensation system. You would need to prove that an employer showed gross disregard for that person’s life to proceed with a wrongful death suit. It may also be possible to proceed on grounds that a safety product that your relative was using at work was defective—such as at a construction site. In such a case, you should contact a lawyer, such as those at Sackstein, Sackstein& Lee, LLP.

Was Your Relative Responsible for His or Her Death?

It is not uncommon for individuals to be responsible for accidents that lead to their own death. For instance, a doctor may not correctly diagnose an illness in time if a patient withholds information. Depending on how culpable the relative is, it may not be possible to collect damages in some states.

It is never easy to hear that a loved one has passed away. While you may want to pursue justice for your relative, the law may limit your options. Therefore, it may be a good idea to talk with an attorney who may be able to tell you if you have a case and what your options may be to pursue it.

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