Wrongful Death Lawsuit: For the Benefit of “Real Parties in Interest”

Posted by in Personal Injury on Apr 22, 2015

While many accidents are due to a person’s own carelessness, many more are caused by other people who choose to act recklessly or negligently – types of behavior that make accidents totally preventable. On its website, the Law Offices of Crowe & Mulvey, LLC, points out the fundamental duty of every American to act only in ways that will never endanger anyone. The firm also makes clear that, under the law, those who choose to act without regard for others’ safety and cause injury along the way can very well be recipients of a civil lawsuit to enable their innocent victim/s (or the victims’ families) to seek and receive compensation from them: a right recognized and granted by the law.

There are many different types of accident-causing injuries which can happen to any person in any place. These include: accidents involving motor vehicles, including cars, trucks and motorcycles; pedestrian accidents; bicycle accidents; injury due to the use of defective products; slip and fall accidents, job-related accidents, occupational exposure to dangerous substances or conditions, injuries due to dental or medical malpractice, plane accident, cruise ship accident; and so forth. The harm that any of these accidents can cause differs; it could be a mild scratch or something serious, such as fractured bones, amputated limb, head injury, spinal cord injury, injury to internal organs, etc. Among the most serious harms that any accident can cause, though, besides permanent total disability, is wrongful death.

Wrongful death is the loss of a person’s life due either to the willful misconduct or negligence of another. While a lawsuit may be filed for the purpose of pursuing justice, this legal action is primarily for the benefit of the surviving family members and the decedent’s other dependents (legally known as “real parties in interest”). Called a wrongful death claim, this special kind of personal injury lawsuit is intended to seek compensation for whatever pecuniary, or financial, damages the qualified dependents may suffer, including loss of financial support due to the death of the victim, loss of the dead victim’s services, medical and funeral expenses, and lost prospect of inheritance.

A wrongful death lawsuit must have the following elements in order to be successful:

  • The death of a person due to someone else’s negligence or willful misconduct
  • Monetary injury suffered by the surviving family members due to the victim’s death
  • An appointed personal representative for the decedent’s surviving dependents (this person can be a lawyer or a member of the family of the deceased)

The damages that may be considered compensable, the requirements or conditions to be recognized as a qualified plaintiff, and the statutory limit for the filing of the suit, may differ from one state to another. Due to the differences in state requirements, on top of the complexity of the tort law, it is best for the family to get in touch with a highly- qualified personal injury lawyer.

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