Wrongful Death Lawsuit – how It Works?

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There are many different kinds of personal injury lawsuits. From slip and fall incidents to car accidents, a number of things are covered under every lawsuit. Another common lawsuit that falls under personal injury claims is wrongful death. Here is all you need to know about wrongful death and wrongful death lawsuit.


Wrongful death, as the name suggests, is when a person is killed due to the carelessness, negligence of an intentional act of another person. A number of wrongful death claims are filed each year in the US. Wrongful death claims are brought up against a person who is accused of causing someone to die because of their carelessness and negligence or because of intentional harm. This party is called the defendant and the one who has filed the claim is called the plaintiff. The estate of the deceased person is allowed to file a wrongful death lawsuit claim against the defendant who is accused of their death. The lawsuit is to be filed by the estate on behalf of the deceased family and other affected parties.

There are some things you must understand before you go on and file a wrongful death lawsuit.

When is a Wrongful Death Claim Applicable?

If a person, who would have been able to file personal injury claim if survived, is killed due to the negligence, carelessness or intentional act of another person or party, a wrongful death claim becomes applicable. There are many different situations where this becomes applicable. Let’s take a look at them one by one.

1. Intentional Killing of the Victim

This is when the deceased was killed intentionally by the defendant. An example of this case is the OJ Simpson case where he was accused of the murders of Ronald Goldman and Brown Simpson. The case was based on the intentional act on the part of OJ Simpson.

2. Death as a Result of Medical Malpractice

This case is applicable if the doctor was not able to diagnose the condition of the victim in a timely manner or was not able to provide them the attention they needed. If the carelessness of the doctor was the reason that resulted in the death of the victim, then the doctor can be sued and a wrongful death claim can be filed against them.

3. Fatalities in Car Accidents

You can file a wrongful death claim against a defendant if a victim dies as a result of injuries that were inflicted upon them during a car accident.

The cases mentioned above are just some of the personal injury incidents that can turn into wrongful death lawsuits in case the victim dies. Any personal injury situation can lead to a wrongful death claim. However, there is an exception in the cases related to work injuries and they are to be handled through the worker’s compensation system exclusively.

What to Prove in a Wrongful Death Claim?

If you are filing a wrongful death claim on the behalf of the victim, you will have to meet the same burden of proof that would have been inflicted upon the victim if they had survived. Thus, if you are suing someone on negligence that resulted in the death of the victim, you will have to prove that the defendant had a duty of care towards the victim and it was breached by the defendant which resulted in the death of the victim. You will also need to prove that the damages you are trying to recover from the defendant are actually the ones that were caused by the death of the victim.

Filing a Wrongful Death Claim – Who can do it?

The representative of the estate of the victim is usually the one to file a wrongful death claim. The claim is to be filed on the behalf of loved ones who had some relationship with the deceased victim. The people who come in the survivors are different in each state. A spouse can bring in a wrongful death claim on behalf of the deceased spouse. Parents can do it on behalf of their minor children and minors can get compensation in case of the death of their parents in these cases. The distant the familial relation is, the harder it is going to be for you to be able to collect the damages under wrongful death claims.

Damages in Wrongful Death Claims

Here are the categories of losses that the survivors can receive compensation for in case of a wrongful death claim.

  • Pre-death pain and suffering of the deceased
  • Medical costs that were incurred before the death of the victim
  • Cost of funeral and burial
  • Loss of the expected income of the deceased
  • Loss of inheritance as a result of the victim’s death
  • Value of service that would have been provided by the deceased had they been alive
  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of nurturing, care and guidance that would have been provided by the deceased
  • Loss of companionship and love

Do You Need a Wrongful Death Attorney?

If you are thinking of filing a wrongful death lawsuit claim, you will need the services of a seasoned attorney. At Mike Breen, we have experienced attorneys who have helped many clients in their wrongful death lawsuits. We have years of experience working on wrongful death lawsuits and other personal injury claims in Kentucky. If you are looking for specialist wrongful death attorneys or for any of your other personal injury cases, you can get in touch with us for a free consultation. We will discuss it all with you in detail before we figure out whether or not your case qualifies as a personal injury case.

Get in touch with us at 270-355-7264 for a free consultation.

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