What to Know When Filing a Wrongful Death Claim

When filing a wrongful death claim it’s important you know your rights. Each situation is unique and there are certain facts you must demonstrate in order to file a successful claim. Remember that you have the right to stand up for yourself and that a proper wrongful death claim requires you hire a competent lawyer trained in this area of law.

Seeking Damages

When filing a wrongful death claim, you may seek damages regarding the loss of care, guidance and companionship the deceased would have provided as well as pain and suffering damages that resulted from the victim’s death. Only parents, grandparents, children or spouses are able to file wrongful death claims related to loss of care, guidance, and companionship. In Ontario, damages for such have a maximum award amount of $125,000.

Additional financial losses that can be added include medical and funeral costs related to the deceased. Income and benefits or products and services the victim would have provided, such as financial support, may also be calculated.

Common Wrongful Death Situations

A few wrongful death situations are the most common. Car and motor vehicle accidents tend to be the source of many wrongful death claims. Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is leading cause of these accidents while distracted driving leads to many fatal car accidents as well.

Medical malpractice is another common type. Neglect, improper medication, misdiagnoses, and other fatal mistakes from medical professionals can cause the death of patients. A related category of wrongful death claims is product liability. Failure to properly test products, such as a pharmaceutical drug, can lead to a patient’s death.

Other common scenarios include workplace situations and deaths while in the custody of police or other authorities. In workplace accidents, the most common scenario involves manual labor. However, even the safest of work environments can lead to a wrongful death.

Establishing Responsibility

No matter what the wrongful death situation, you must prove that the actions of the person responsible were a direct cause of the victim’s death. The defendant must have owed the victim a duty of care. Duty refers to the reasonable responsibility that the defendant had in reference to the situation and people involved in the death.

Duty doesn’t just apply to obvious situations such as with doctors or police. Drivers on the road have a duty of care to one another, for example. When you establish the defendant’s duty, you must prove that the person responsible failed it and that the failure resulted in the victim’s death. The driver who chose to operate a motor vehicle while under the influence has directly caused a death, for instance, by failing in their duty to others on the road.

Whatever the cause of the loss of your loved one, you have rights when seeking a wrongful death claim. It’s important to seek out a wrongful death lawyer who can assist you in the process of filing the claim and guide you to a successful resolution. Specialists in this field usually also act as personal injury lawyers and your search for help might begin with law firms in this area.