Losing a loved one is an unspeakable tragedy. Whether it was your husband, wife, a parent, or a child, the surviving family members are suddenly faced with a world without their partner or caregiver. When the death was unnecessary—caused by another party’s negligence or reckless behavior—the tragedy is even crueler.
Beyond the immense emotional and psychological strain that is placed on surviving family members, there is often a significant financial strain placed on them as well. The deceased may have been the sole provider in his or her household, or perhaps shared a significant amount of the household duties. After losing a loved one, the surviving members of the family are suddenly faced with a daunting economic challenge.
Can I Sue for the Wrongful Death of My Family Member or Loved One?
When someone is killed due to the negligence of another person or company, immediate family members are able to file a wrongful death claim. While some states vary in their “next of kin” definition, the following parties are nearly always able to file suit:
- Adopted Children
- Parents of Unmarried Children
Some states allow life partners and more distant relatives, such as siblings and grandparents, to file wrongful death claims on behalf of the deceased, as well.
What Can I Recover in a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims seek to recover both economic and non-economic damages, and some states even allow for punitive damages to be awarded for especially egregious conduct on the defendant’s behalf.
Economic damages are meant to reimburse immediate family members and financial dependents for expenses associated with the victim’s death, as well as financial contributions that he or she would have made in their life, including:
- Medical bills and funeral expenses
- Loss of future earnings
- Loss of benefits, including healthcare and retirement
If you have lost a loved one, you know that their contribution to your life is more than financial. While it is hard to put a price on the role your spouse or parent played in your life, and many states have different limits on what can be recovered, non-economic damages seek to compensate survivors in some way for:
- Pain and suffering of the surviving family
- Loss of care and protection
- Loss of companionship or consortium
For Grieving Families, a Wrongful Death Claim Can Help With Recovery
While one can never put a price on the life of a loved one, wrongful death claims allow families to survive financially while they work on piecing their lives back together. A successful claim cannot come close to bringing back a father, daughter, or spouse, but it can allow the family financial security that they may have otherwise lost.
If you have lost a family member and do not know where to start, our law firm can provide a complimentary, no-obligation consultation to help answer your questions and start you down the right path. If you do choose to pursue a claim, you will not be charged unless we are able to obtain a recovery for you. To speak with our wrongful death attorneys, call us at 202-759-5899 today.