When an individual’s death was caused by the action or inaction of another, you could have a case for a wrongful death lawsuit.
Who Can be Sued for a Wrongful Death?
A wrongful death lawsuit includes fatalities resulting from car accidents, medical malpractice suits, and product liability cases. While individuals are sometimes targeted as the responsible parties, corporations and even government agencies can also be held accountable for contributing to a wrongful death. In fact, one incident can result in wrongful death claims being filed against multiple entities.
For example, a car accident involved both a faulty road and a drunk driver. Under these circumstances, the family of the victim might name several defendants in a wrongful death lawsuit. This could include the drunk driver, the designer of the road and even the area’s transportation department for not marking the road as hazardous. If a vehicle part is found to have been defective, the automobile manufacturer may also be named in the suit. Finally, the bartender — as well as the bar itself — could be named for serving the drunk driver, especially if the individual had been visibly drunk and was still served.
Some state laws may establish immunity against wrongful death lawsuits under special circumstances, which includes government agencies. corporations and individuals. A good example of this includes the case Mutual Pharmaceutical Co., Inc. v. Bartlett — which determined that manufacturers of generic drugs can’t be held liable in either product liability or wrongful death suits in which the FDA already approved the name brand drug.
Who is Able to File a Claim and What Must be Proven?
Similar to a civil lawsuit, there are restrictions for filing a wrongful death suit. Before contacting a wrongful death lawyer in Savannah, make sure you qualify to file. This means that you must be a representative for the survivors of the decedent, who is an immediate family member, life partner, or a financial dependent. In some states, distant family members and parents of a deceased fetus may also file a wrongful death claim.
The relationship to the deceased individual is important because the second half of a wrongful death claim is determining damages. The surviving family must be able to show damages in the form of financial hardships caused by the individual’s death.
Does a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Affect Probate Estate?
When an individual dies, their estate goes into probate. This is a process that involves determining the legitimacy of the will and using assets to pay off taxes and debts. Typically, a wrongful death lawsuit coincides with the probate process, so the two may not affect the outcome of one another. While an individual may be excluded from receiving payments from the settlement of a wrongful death suit, they may still be named a beneficiary in the will. In that case, he or she will still receive the established inheritance. Likewise, if someone is not named in the will, he or she may still be eligible to make a claim in a wrongful death lawsuit.
It’s important to act fast, however.
There is a statute of limitations on wrongful death claims, though the specified time period varies from state to state. Contact your wrongful death lawyer in Savannah to determine the exact terms in your area, but many jurisdictions place a one year limit from the “date of discovery” of the harm. When a doctor fails to diagnose cancer in time, the date of discovery and, subsequently, the statute of limitations, would not begin until the cancer was discovered.
If you think you might have grounds to begin a wrongful death lawsuit, it is important to be confident that you are in contact with a top lawyer. A no-risk initial consultation can provide a better understanding of the law and your ability to receive damages.
Tate Law Group is here for you and your family in your time of grief so you can be confident that you are getting the best representation possible, working toward the compensation you deserve. Call us today at (912) 333-3915 or fill out an online contact form and we will get back to you within 24 hours to schedule your free confidential consultation.