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What is a wrongful death claim after a car accident?

In our blog post last week, we discussed the story of the 20-year-old man who died when his vehicle was broadsided by another vehicle. That horrible tragedy might have some of our Wisconsin readers wondering exactly what happens in a wrongful death lawsuit. Getting the answers to some very basic questions might help our readers to understand more about what it means when someone files a wrongful death lawsuit.

What compensation can a person get in a wrongful death lawsuit?

Pecuniary injuries are the most common measure of loss in a wrongful death claim. Pecuniary injury refers to the financial impact a person's death has on the complainant. Funeral expenses and medical bills are often sought. Pecuniary injuries for loss of a possible inheritance, loss of services and loss of support are also possible.

How are damages determined?

There are several factors that are considered when determining damages in a wrongful death case. The loss of income and loss of a parental guidance are the two main factors in cases that involve a parent with a minor child being killed. Other considerations include the victim's age, earning capacity, character, intelligence and health.

What elements are necessary to prove wrongful death?

The victim must have been a human. That death must have been caused by the negligence of the defendant or the intention harm of the victim by the defendant. There must be a personal representative appointed for the victim's estate, and there must be family members who are suffering financial losses from the death.

Filing a claim for the wrongful death of a loved one is one way that a person can avenge their loved one's death in a legal manner. The process for proving wrongful death can be complicated, so working with someone who is familiar with these claims might help you to learn what needs to be done.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Overview" Nov. 19, 2014

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