What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

Generally, a wrongful death lawsuit is a type of civil action that a family member or members bring against another party who has caused the death of their loved one either through negligence or some other form of recklessness.

For a wrongful death claim to be successful, the family must prove that the defendant’s actions caused the death and that the defendant acted in a way that was either negligent or reckless.

If they can prove these things, they might be able to get money to cover funeral costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. While every state has its own laws governing wrongful death claims, these suits are typically brought in civil court rather than criminal court.

The Four Key Factors of Wrongful Death Lawsuits

Four key factors must be present to successfully file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Cause of death

First, there must be an identifiable cause of death. This could be an act of negligence, intentional harm, or a defective product.


Second, the people left behind must be able to show that their lives have been hurt by the death. This could include financial damages, such as funeral costs or loss of income, and emotional damages, such as grief or loss of companionship.

Statute of limitations

Third, the lawsuit must be filed within the statute of limitations, which is typically two years from the date of death.

The Burden of Proof

Lastly, the burden of proof is on the family to demonstrate that the death was caused by the negligence or wrongdoing of another party.

Common Causes of Wrongful Death

One of the most tragic events is the wrongful death of a loved one. While nothing can undo the damage done, understanding the cause of the death can help the family find some measure of closure.

Some problems are easy to figure out, like when a drunk driver hits and kills a pedestrian. In other cases, however, the reason may not be immediately clear.

Here are some of the most common causes of wrongful death:

Car accidents

Common Causes of Wrongful Death: Car accidents | Terhovsepian law Glendale CA

According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, car accidents are the leading cause of wrongful death in the United States. In 2015 alone, over 6 million car accidents resulted in nearly 40,000 deaths.

Criminal acts

Common Causes of Wrongful Death: Car Criminal acts | Terhovsepian law Glendale CA

Each year, there are thousands of homicides in the United States. While not all of these deaths are wrongful (such as when someone is killed in self-defense), many are due to negligence or malice on the killer’s part.

If someone else’s carelessness or recklessness caused the death of a loved one, you may be able to get money through a wrongful death lawsuit. A personal injury lawyer with a lot of experience can help you understand your legal rights and choices.

Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

The answer to this question depends on the laws of the state where the death occurred.

In general, a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by the surviving spouse, children, or parents of the person who died. However, other relatives may also be eligible to file suit in some cases. Also, in many states, the person in charge of the estate of the person who died can bring a wrongful death action.

The goal of a wrongful death lawsuit is to make the person or group responsible for the death pay for what they did and get compensation for things like medical bills, funeral costs, and lost wages.

If you lost a loved one because of someone else’s carelessness, you should talk to an experienced lawyer to find out if you have a case.

Terhovsepian Law

Terhovsepian Law is a well-known personal injury firm that has helped a lot of families get justice. We can help you get through the legal process and make sure you get the most money possible for your damages. We have a proven track record of success in these cases and will work tirelessly to get you the justice you deserve.

Contact us today to schedule a free consultation with a wrongful death attorney.

How much can be sued for wrongful death?

Depending on the circumstances of your case, the amount which can be claimed varies. So, if you are thinking about filing a lawsuit for wrongful death, you should talk to a lawyer to find out how much your case might be worth.

How Are Wrongful Death Settlements Paid Out?

In the case of wrongful death, the people left behind can file a lawsuit against the person or group that caused the death. If the claim is successful, the court will award a monetary settlement to the family.

How is this money paid out?

There are typically two methods of payment for a wrongful death settlement: lump sum and structured settlement.

Lump Sum

With a lump sum payment, the entire settlement amount is paid immediately. The family can then use this money however they see fit.

Structured settlement

A structured settlement makes the payments over time, typically in periodic installments. This can be helpful for families who need financial help even after a loved one has died. It can also provide some stability and predictability during what is often a tough time.

Most of the time, the people involved in a lawsuit decide how to structure a settlement, with help from their lawyers. There is no right or wrong way to do it; it all depends on the unique circumstances of each case and what will work best for the family involved.


While no amount of money will ever make up for the loss of a loved one, compensation from a wrongful death suit can help ease some of the financial burdens your family is facing. If you have lost a loved one and suspect that the negligence of another caused their death, it is crucial to act quickly. Gather as much evidence as possible and speak to an experienced attorney who can help you build a strong case. With the proper support, you may be able to get the justice your family deserves.

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