The wrongful death law in the U.S is simple. Wrongful death refers to a circumstance where a person dies either as a result of negligence or the misconduct of another party. Wrongful deaths are in most cases due to medical malpractice, automobile accidents or exposure to conditions that are harmful while on the job.
There are specific ways depending on a state that families and individuals can file claims. According to the law, only surviving family members can file a wrongful death suit. A claim cannot be filed under the name of the decedent.
The claims in most situations fall under civil law. This is largely because it is difficult to win a case that demands a criminal trial. The family files a claim with the main aim of seeking compensation for loss. This could be the loss of monetary value or emotional hurt.
A question that is raised by most people is why wrongful death claims are in most cases civil trials as opposed to full-fledged criminal proceedings. The main reason is because the burden of proof which can be classified under the prosecuting party’s responsibility to prove guilt is not the same between civil and criminal suits. Criminal cases are filed under the state’s name whereas civil ones are brought to court in the name of the person filing the claim. On top of this, in criminal cases the accused must be found guilty beyond a reasonable doubt. However, in civil cases, an individual must be found guilty by a majority or preponderance of evidence. This is just by 51%.
There is a specific time frame for filing a wrongful death claim. It varies from state to state, but oftentimes the deadline ranges from 1 to 3 years. The statute of limitations may begin at the time of death or at the time when wrongful death was discovered.
Wrongful death cases are heard before a jury. It has the power to impose any damage amount that it feels is warranted. The verdict of the jury in line with the award can, however, be reviewed by the judge and reduced if he or she feels it is excessive. States also have the power to limit the damages awarded. It is your right to take action if you feel that wrongful death has occurred.
I am specialized in wrongful death cases and an expert in bringing justice to families who suffer such loss. If you or someone you know was a victim of a wrongful death incident and is not sure what to do, then you can contact me for a FREE consultation (no commitment) by calling me, email me at David@dmflawyer.com or by Contact Me and fill up a simple form and I promise to contact you with in 24 hours.
I will do everything I can to bring justice to you and your family.
David M Feldman.