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The basics of a wrongful death claim

The sudden loss of a loved one is a difficult event to cope with, and the matter could be complicated further if the negligence of another party caused or contributed to the death of a family member. If an individual or a family believes that a negligent party is at fault, whether it is a medical professional, driver or business, it may be possible to hold that company liable through a wrongful death claim. In order to file such an action, it is important that those filing the lawsuit understand the basics of a wrongful death claim.

To begin, the plaintiff in the matter, who is usually a family member or spouse, must prove specific elements. The first element they must prove is the death of a loved one. There must be documentation that proves that a person has died. Next, a plaintiff must prove that the death of a loved one was caused by another person's intent to harm that loved one or by negligence.

The third element to prove is that the surviving family members are suffering injury or loss as a result of the death of a loved one. Finally, the last element to prove is that there has been an appointment of a personal representative for the decedent's estate.

Proving these four elements may help a successful wrongful death claim. This helps surviving family members recover compensation for losses suffered, such as medical bills, funeral expenses, lost wages, loss of companionship and other related damages.

No matter your age or how close you were to a deceased family member, it is important to explore the rights afforded to you. If you believe the death of a loved one was caused by the negligence of another, there may be recourses available.

Source: Findlaw.com, "Wrongful Death," accessed Oct. 30, 2016

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