When families file suits for wrongful death, many people accuse them of going after money. This is rarely the case. When people lose their loved ones and pursue damages, it is a matter of principle. They may also have bills to pay based on the wrongful death incident. Medical bills and any assets the deceased person held with monthly obligations may have gone into delinquency. What if the person was the primary breadwinner in the family and had several dependents? What then?
NBC2 states that cases involving intentional killing are the most obvious wrongful death lawsuits. This is a little misleading as, to some people, it might imply that someone could murder someone else and fight it out in civil court instead of facing felony charges for murder or manslaughter. Perhaps a better way to explain it is that wrongful death charges may follow a conviction when a murder occurs. Individuals may also file one even if there is no criminal case.
Another potential wrongful death case is when someone dies during a medical procedure or even while waiting longer than necessary to receive one. When a patient dies from the medical procedure, it is often termed as medical malpractice. The family members of people who die while waiting for medical care may file a suit based on patient neglect.
There are several pieces of evidence to consider when looking at a wrongful death case, regardless of the cause. These include the following:
- Police reports
- Medical records
- Corporate records
- Witness accounts
One of the most commonly asked questions professionals in this field get is an estimate on how much money the family might receive. It is difficult to determine this, especially when non-economic damages weigh in. For instance, one ABC 17 report shared a story of one family that was eligible for more than $1.25 million. The defendant in this instance is an example of someone tried in civil court and as a criminal. The accused was indicted on several charges related to the incident in the year prior.