A wrongful death case usually arises when someone is killed due to the negligence or intentional act of another person or entity.
There are many different circumstances that can give rise to a wrongful death claim. Some common examples include:
- Car accidents
- Nursing home abuse or negligence
- Dog bites
- Product liability cases
- Premises Liability
If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence or intentional act, you may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. An experienced wrongful death attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options.
Wrongful Death Damages
The damages that may be available in a wrongful death case will depend on the facts of the case and the state law where the case is filed. In general, however, the surviving family members may be able to get compensation for:
- Medical expenses related to the decedent's death
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of earnings and benefits
- Loss of companionship, love, and affection
In some cases, punitive damages may also be available. Punitive damages are intended to punish the wrongdoer and deter others from engaging in similar conduct.
Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
In Wyoming, a wrongful death lawsuit must be filed within two years from the date of death. There are some exceptions to this deadline, so it is important to consult with an experienced attorney as soon as possible after your loved one's death.
If you are successful in your wrongful death case, the court will enter a judgment against the wrongdoer. The judgment will include an award of damages to the surviving family members. The damages may be paid by the wrongdoer directly, or by his or her insurance company.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case
The grounds for a wrongful death claim will vary depending on the circumstances of the case. In general, however, the plaintiff must show that:
- The defendant owed a duty to the decedent: This duty may arise from a contract, statute, or general principles of negligence law.
- The defendant breached that duty: The breach may be due to an act or failure to act. An example of an act would be a driver who runs a red light, causing a car accident. An example of a failure to act would be a doctor who fails to diagnose a patient's deadly disease.
- The breach of duty caused the decedent's death: In order to prove causation, the plaintiff must show that it is more likely than not that the decedent would not have died if the defendant had not breached his or her duty.
- The plaintiff has suffered damages as a result of the decedent's death: The plaintiff must show that he or she has suffered a monetary loss due to the death, such as funeral expenses or loss of earnings.
Wrongful death cases are often complex and technical. If you have lost a loved one due to someone else's negligence or intentional act, it is important to consult with an experienced wrongful death attorney as soon as possible. An attorney can help you understand your legal rights and options and can fight for the compensation you deserve.