Wrongful Death:

Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Every state has its own statutes with regard to wrongful death, however, there are some principles that all hold in common:

  • The death of a human being (with regard to the death of unborn fetuses, many, though not all, states specify that the victim must be born alive)
  • The death must have been caused, in whole or in part, by the action (or non-action) of the defendant.
  • The defendant’s actions were negligent or the defendant was strictly liable for the wrongful death; that is to say, the harm was caused without intention
  • There are surviving members of the deceased’s immediate family and they have appointed a personal representative
  • The death resulted in monetary damages.

The causes of wrongful death are numerous. While the most common is medical malpractice, others include:

  • Automobile accidents
  • Aviation accidents
  • Hazards encountered while at work
  • Criminal actions

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