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Understanding Wrongful Death

“Wrongful death,” under the law, means a death caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless actions, which would have resulted in a personal injury lawsuit had the person lived. A wrongful death suit can be brought by a parent, child, or spouse of someone whose death is attributable to the wrongful conduct of another. In some situations, an extended family member may qualify to collect damages under a wrongful death claim.

Situations That Can Result in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

There are a variety of different ways one might find themselves in a situation where they have a wrongful death claim. These include:

  • Medical negligence – such as when a medical professional leaves a sponge or instrument inside someone’s body during surgery
  • Medical malpractice – such as when a medical professional fails to recognize the signs of fetal distress and does not take appropriate life-saving measures
  • Death in the workplace – such as when safety protocols are not followed by the company, scaffolding is improperly protected, or workers are not provided the necessary training or equipment to keep themselves and each other safe
  • Car accidents – such as when another driver is texting or is otherwise distracted and causes an accident
  • Transportation accidents – such as a bus accident, airplane crash, or train derailment
  • Premise liability – such as where a property owner fails to rectify a dangerous condition which they knew about or should have known about
  • Product liability – such as where a product is made in a manner that isn’t safe.

There are any number of ways one might have a wrongful death claim.

Damages Covered by Wrongful Death Claims

In a wrongful death case, there are a number of different kinds of “damages” the surviving family members may collect. Some of the damages which may be recoverable include:

  • Medical expenses
  • Funeral expenses
  • Loss of financial support
  • Loss of services (such as cooking, cleaning, and other contributions to the family unit)
  • Loss of parental guidance

As you might imagine, each state has different rules on how much a person can recover, based on the facts and circumstances of the individual case.

Statute of Limitations

There are limits to the amount of time a surviving family member has to collect a claim. When a family member dies due to someone else’s reckless or negligent conduct, it is a good idea to contact an attorney as soon as possible to discuss a possible wrongful death claim. Not all family member deaths will result in a successful wrongful death claim, however, an experienced attorney should be consulted to ensure all possible avenues are explored.

Have You Lost a Loved One?

If you have lost a loved one, and you believe it is due to the conduct of another, contact the attorneys at Gilman & Bedigian, LLC. Our legal team has extensive experience handling wrongful death cases for families. We are happy to speak with you at not cost to discuss your family’s situation. Call us at 800.529.6162. We look forward to speaking with you.

About the Author

Charles GilmanCharles Gilman
Charles Gilman

As managing partner and co-founder of Gilman & Bedigian, it is my mission to help our clients recover and get their lives back on track. I strongly believe that every person who is injured by a wrongful act deserves compensation, and I will do my utmost to bring recompense to those who need and deserve it.


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