Wrongful Death Lawsuit – Learn How It Works


A wrongful death claim is filed when someone succumbs to injuries resulting from the alleged defender’s intentional or negligent action. The estate or someone close to the victim has the right, under the provision of wrongful death claims, to file a lawsuit against the party allegedly liable for the incident and resulting death.

The wrongful death laws are not uniform across the country. These lawsuits are usually brought by the deceased person’s estate representative who actually works on behalf of the surviving family members affected by the victim’s death.

When can one file a wrongful death claim lawsuit?

A wrongful death claim is applicable in situations involving a victim, who would have presented valid personal injury claims, is killed due to someone else’s wrongful action. It can happen in various situations that include:

  • When the victim’s death results from medical malpractice
  • When the victim dies of car accident injuries due to someone’s negligence
  • When a victim is killed intentionally

One might argue that these are personal injury cases but the fact is, any of these may lead to wrongful death claims. In reality, any wrongful death results from any kind of personal injury case. However, a remarkable exception to injury-related death exists at workplaces as these cases are handled through the worker’s compensation system.

What needs to be proved?

The plaintiff needs to present the same loads of evidences that the victim, who would have been obliged to offer had he/she survived, in order to prove that the defendant is liable for the wrongful death. If negligence is the perceived ground for wrongful death, the plaintiff must prove that the defendant should have fulfilled a duty of care towards the victim but failed to do so and the defendant’s failure was directly related to the death and the plaintiff has filed the compensation claim to recover the damages caused by the victim’s death.

Who is entitled to a wrongful death claim?

The representative of the deceased’s estate has the legal right to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of the surviving members of the victim’s family. It’s important to identify the survivors and the process of identification varies from state to state.

Wrongful Death Damages

Categories of losses that make a survivor qualify for wrongful death claims are as follows:

  • The victim’s pain and suffering before death (often called a “survival claim”)
  • The medical treatment expenses incurred by the victim and/or his/her immediate family as a result of pre-death injuries
  • Burial and funeral costs
  • Loss of the victim’s expected income
  • Loss of inheritance due to the victim’s death
  • Value of the services that the victim could have provided
  • Loss of care and guidance that the deceased could have provided
  • Loss of companionship
  • Loss of consortium

Whether or not to hire a wrongful death attorney?

There is no hard and fast rule for the survivors to be represented by a wrongful death lawyer. However, it always sounds like a sensible thought to hire a Portland wrongful death attorney. This is because, any lawsuit involves several layers of complexities that can be best understood only by a practicing lawyer. The lawyer knows it all how to present the compensation claim for a favorable result.

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