Personal injury lawsuits involve an incident where an individual sustains an injury and seeks compensation to cover expenses. Tragically, severe injuries can result in fatalities escalating the case from personal injury to a wrongful death case. Surviving family members have the right in Washington to seek compensation for these deaths. However, those bringing the action must have legal standing to file such a claim.
The basics of wrongful death lawsuits
A wrongful death suit focuses on seeking compensatory and punitive damages when someone’s negligence caused another person’s death. For example, a drunk driver who exceeds the speed limits and crashes into another vehicle would be liable for the fatality inflicted. In addition, physicians or medical personnel might face a wrongful death suit if a patient dies from the care provided due to negligence or incorrect procedures.
Businesses are not immune to receiving wrongful death lawsuits for products or incidents inside their facility. For instance, a product that does not list small parts or plastic bags on its packaging can be the defendant of a wrongful death suit of a small child’s death by choking on a part of a toy. Also, an incident that causes injury which leads to death in a business, like a slip-and-fall where an individual strikes their head on the floor and dies within days, may be the basis of a wrongful death lawsuit.
Legal matters related to wrongful death lawsuits
Wrongful death lawsuits involve claims by survivors for expense coverage. When the top earner in a family dies tragically, life insurance may not completely cover the financial obligations. So, survivors can sue for lost income and seek enough funds to cover burial, medical bills, and a child’s future college tuition, among other costs.
Claimants will need to present proof to support specific claims. However, punitive damages are another matter. For example, juries could award significant sums to punish the defendant for reckless and egregious behavior, such as drunk driving or cutting corners with product safety.
Surviving family members with adequate legal proof may bring a wrongful death lawsuit forward. The law might require an executor/personal representative to initiate the suit.