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The importance of negligence in a wrongful death lawsuit

Auto crashes, falls, defective products and toxic chemicals can all kill people. When another party's recklessness or carelessness is a principal cause of such a death, a wrongful death lawsuit can follow.

Wrongful death lawsuits are often filed by the surviving family members of a victim. These survivors can recover compensation from the negligent party if they can show that negligence was the direct cause of a relative's death. A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed even if the alleged negligent party is charged with a criminal offense for his or her part in the death; a good example is a drunk driver who causes an accident in which another driver or even a passenger in the drunk driver's vehicle is killed. The plaintiff can use the same evidence presented by the prosecutors to prove the negligence of the defendant.

The filing of a wrongful death lawsuit requires the following elements: a person's death, evidence that another person's negligence led to the death and surviving family members who suffer a financial injury because of the sudden loss of the loved one.

Determining the amount of compensation is generally done with several considerations in mind, including the age, physical condition and health of the person killed; how much he or she earned or could be expected to earn over the remainder of his or her life; and sometimes the financial condition of those left behind.

Filing a wrongful death lawsuit can be a legally perplexing and daunting enterprise. Any reader who plans to file a wrongful death lawsuits should first conduct research before filing a claim. Reviewing relevant state laws can also help a potential plaintiff develop a deeper understanding of wrongful death claims as well as the types of damages that can be sought in the lawsuit.

Source:, "Wrongful death overview," accessed on Aug. 24, 2014

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