Can You Seek Damages If Your Loved One Suffered Before He or She Died?
It is always difficult to deal with the loss of a loved one. But when your loved one’s death was the result of a person’s wrongful actions, there are legal rights that you can exercise. If your loved one suffered before their death, you have the right to sue for their damages, too.
Your loved one’s suffering is an example of negligence. In a wrongful death lawsuit, you would have the right to hold that negligent party responsible for your loved one’s suffering. The Charlotte wrongful death attorneys at Price, Petho & Associates can explain the wrongful death lawsuit process to you and how you can seek damages in today’s blog.
What is a wrongful death action?
A wrongful death action is a lawsuit that can be filed by the survivors of a wrongful death victim. A victim’s death would be considered a wrongful death if it occurred as a result of another person’s negligent actions. Some examples include:
- Causing a head-on collision
- Misdiagnosing a patient
- Injuring a mother or her baby during childbirth
- Selling a defective product that kills a consumer
- Failing to provide a safe working environment for employees
Not every unfortunate death is considered a wrongful death. Your loved one’s death must meet specific criteria.
For your loved one’s death to be considered a wrongful death, it must have occurred as a result of another person’s legal fault. Legal fault is the deliberate negligent act that another person has committed.
A person’s actions can be considered negligent if they meet the following standards:
- The person owed a specific duty of care to the victim
- The person’s actions violated that duty of care to the victim
- The person’s actions were directly responsible for the injuries or death of the victim
- The person’s actions must have caused the victim to experience particular damages
There are occasions where the victim of a wrongful death experienced pain and suffering before succumbing to their injuries. That is why you have the right to represent your loved one’s legal interests. In other personal injury lawsuits, only the victim would be allowed to pursue damages from the negligent party.
However, because the victim is deceased, you as the survivor must represent them. There are several types of damages available in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Pain and suffering
Pain and suffering is the amount of the physical pain or mental anguish that a person has suffered because of their accident.
In a typical personal injury lawsuit, pain and suffering compensates a victim for the pain they’ve experienced. Even though your loved one is deceased, it is possible they endured a significant amount of pain before passing away from their accident.
There is a way for a tangible number to be placed to this type of damage. Working with an attorney can help you determine the right estimate for this type of damage.
Medical expenses are one of the damages that you can seek on behalf of your loved one.
Just like other personal injury victims, your loved one may have required medical procedures before they passed away. These include ambulance transport, emergency surgeries, and other treatments.
When your loved one passes away, their medical expenses will be transferred over to their surviving family members to pay. Instead of paying out of pocket, you can be reimbursed for these expenses through a wrongful death lawsuit. The negligent party who caused your loved one’s death can be held liable for those medical expenses.
Another damage you can seek is lost income. You can sue the negligent party for the income your loved one contributed to the household. You also have the right to sue for any future income that your loved one would have contributed. The loss of your loved one will affect your family in some manner financially and it is your right to sue for those damages from the responsible party
In addition to lost income, you can also sue the negligent party for any lost inheritance. Your loved one’s premature death could affect your inheritance in many ways. The negligent party should be responsible for this negative impact.
Funeral and burial expenses are another damage available in a wrongful death lawsuit. Whether your loved one is cremated or buried, these expenses can become quite expensive. You can seek compensation for the funeral expenses that your family had to pay out of pocket.
Loss of consortium
Another damage you can seek is loss of consortium, or loss of companionship. This is an intangible damage that deals with the emotional consequences of your loved one’s death. Losing a family member can be devastating for the entire household.
You may have young children who must learn how to navigate life without their mother or father. You could have lost a family member and now you are suffering a psychological trauma. This is why these damages are necessary for survivors. You can seek financial compensation for the services it will take for you to recover and cope with your loved one’s loss.
When your loved one has lost their life at the hands of another person’s negligence, reach out to the Charlotte wrongful death attorneys at Price, Petho & Associates. Call our offices, or complete our contact form to schedule your free consultation. We represent the survivors of victims who reside in Charlotte, Rutherfordton, and Rockingham.