In the United States, “wrongful death” is when the negligence of a person, employer, hospital, company, or other party leads to the untimely death of a person.
If you are considering filing a lawsuit over a lost loved one, it may be helpful to ask yourself the following questions to determine whether you have grounds to take legal action:
- When did the person's death occur?
Bereaved individuals only have so long to file a claim per their state's statute of limitations. In Rhode Island, they have three years from the date of death to assert a claim.
- Was another party's negligence the primary cause of death?
A few common causes of death that qualify for a lawsuit include negligence on the part of a medical professional, motorist, trucking company, pet owner, property owner, hospital, employer, or product manufacturer, distributor, or designer.
- Can you prove that this negligence was committed?
You will have to be able to establish that negligence took place to win a lawsuit; an attorney can assist you in this regard. Before reaching out to a legal representative, it is important to consider whether someone else was truly at fault. For instance, many medical patients suffer untimely deaths without negligence having any hand in the matter; in these cases, a health care provider can only be held liable if some violation of industry standards led to the patient's death. On the other hand, if the death was caused by a drunk driver, negligence is far more clear cut.
- Does your state consider you an eligible party to file a claim?
Even if you have been deeply touched by wrongful death, you will not be able to file a claim for your loss unless you are considered eligible to do so per state law. In Rhode Island, claims can be brought forth by the estate administrator or, if there is no estate, a surviving family member, such as a spouse, child, grandchild, parent, and/or other dependent.
Compassionate Counsel for Bereaved Families
At Karns & Kerrison, we understand the havoc a loved one's unexpected death can wreak on your life. Although a claim cannot bring your loved one back, the at-fault party should be held accountable and prevented from harming others in the future. Moreover, bringing them to justice could help you find some peace of mind and a sense of closure.
Contact Karns & Kerrison onlineor call us at (888) 281-3100 for a free consultation.