Can You Sue a Negligent Party for Wrongful Death of a Family Member?

By Chris Dixon


When someone else’s carelessness causes a person’s death, the victim’s family members could be entitled to recover compensation for the victim’s pain and suffering. Whether the person’s death was caused by medical malpractice or another act of negligence, an experienced lawyer can assess the situation and help you sue the negligent party for your family member’s wrongful death.

When Can I Sue a Negligent Party for Wrongful Death?

If someone is killed because of another person’s negligence, the victim’s surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim against the negligent party involved. Typically, the people that are eligible to file a wrongful death claim for a victim’s sudden death include spouses, parents, and children of the deceased, but in some states if none of these relations are available to file a claim, a victim’s parents, grandparents, or siblings can file a suit.

It can be difficult to figure out if you are eligible to recover compensation for a family member’s death, but an experienced lawyer can quickly determine your eligibility to sue the negligent party and the damages you could be eligible to obtain for your family’s harm and losses. Generally, if someone is responsible for another person’s injuries, financial losses, or death, they are required to compensate the victim or the victim’s surviving family members for the economic and non-economic damages caused in the accident.

Wrongful Death vs. Workers’ Compensation

Fatal injury claims generally fall into two categories: wrongful death and workers’ compensation. Wrongful death claims typically pertain to accidents that involve medical malpractice, motor vehicle accidents, or product liability, while workers’ compensation claims can be filed for fatal injuries that happened in the workplace. Recoverable damages for wrongful death and workers’ compensation claims are similar, but the amount of compensation and how it’s dispersed varies significantly.

Wrongful death settlements are typically awarded directly to the surviving family members of victims and include compensatory damages that the victim experienced, but death benefits for workers’ compensation claims are generally dispersed in weekly or monthly increments. The amount of a worker’s compensation settlement typically ranges between 50 to 100% of the victim’s available social security work credits accrued throughout their career, and can be difficult to figure out without proper knowledge of social security benefits. If you need help determining how much you can sue a negligent party for the wrongful death of a family member, an experienced lawyer can assess the victim’s case, determine the amount of benefits you could be eligible to recover with a wrongful death or worker’s compensation claim, and offer support during this process.

Proving Wrongful Death of a Family Member

When a person is killed because of another person’s negligence, surviving family members can sue the negligent party for the damages that the victim could have recovered if they were alive. Typically, wrongful death is proven with the following types of evidence:

  • Proof of death (death certificate, autopsy)
  • li>Proof of the negligent party’s negligence

  • Evidence that the victim’s surviving family members have suffered a loss of income or other harm because of the victim’s death
  • Proof that the negligent party caused the victim’s death

Though most cases recover some amount of compensation, it’s essential to keep in mind that not every situation is eligible to recover damages. In some cases, more than one party could be at fault, underlying factors could have caused the accident, or if the deceased’s descendants wait too long to sue the negligent party for wrongful death, they could surpass their state’s wrongful death statute and forfeit their right to recover compensation.

While the time frame for filing a wrongful death claim varies from state to state, in Missouri, the statute for filing a wrongful death claim is three years after a victim’s death. Generally, the best tactic for suing a negligent party for the wrongful death of a family member is hiring a wrongful death lawyer to represent your case. Proving that someone is responsible for a victim’s death can be challenging and generally requires substantial knowledge of a state’s wrongful death laws to produce desirable results. Not to mention, having an experienced lawyer by your side can offer support during this difficult process and ensure that you understand what is going on with your family member’s wrongful death case each step of the way.

Talk to a Wrongful Death Lawyer About Your Case Today

If you have lost an immediate family member because of someone else’s negligence and are unsure if you can sue a negligent party for the victim’s wrongful death, an experienced lawyer can assess the situation, determine your eligibility, and push against the liable party to recover full compensation for your claim.

The Wrongful Death Lawyers at the Dixon Injury Firm know how difficult it can be to lose a family member because of someone else’s carelessness and are committed to making their services as accessible and affordable as possible. If you are ready to speak with a lawyer about suing a negligent party for your family member’s wrongful death, contact the Dixon Injury Firm today to schedule a free consultation and discuss the options available to your family member’s wrongful death case.

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