Who Can Receive Wrongful Death Benefits?

There’s nothing worse than losing a loved one.

When you lose a loved one due to the negligence of another person or organization, the mental anguish you feel may be accompanied by tremendous frustration and anger.

Nothing can bring your loved one back, but if someone you love has been killed due to the actions of another party, you may be entitled to wrongful death benefits.

These benefits can include economic, non-economic, and sometimes punitive damages.

Each state has laws restricting who can file a wrongful death lawsuit and receive benefits.

In the article below, we will discuss wrongful death and who may receive wrongful death benefits.

What’s A Wrongful Death Claim?

A wrongful death claim, or wrongful death action, occurs when a person is killed due to another party’s negligence or intentional harm.

Wrongful death can result from car accident injuries, workplace injuries, slip and fall injuries, and more.

Wrongful death suits help the surviving loved ones of the deceased person with compensation.

The compensation covers funeral expenses, medical expenses, damages from lost finances, pain and suffering, and more.

Payment from wrongful death settlements is disbursed as a structured settlement. 

Wrongful Death Laws Differ by State

Every state has wrongful death statutes in place, but they are not consistent.

Specific aspects of the laws governing wrongful death vary depending on where the incident occurred.

These differences can include:

  • Statute of limitations
  • Types of damages that you can recover
  • Settlement distribution (who is entitled to compensation awarded in the case).

Since the laws vary by state, you should work with a local wrongful death attorney familiar with your state’s laws.

You can speak with an attorney to find out if you have a case and learn about the steps in a wrongful death lawsuit.

lawyer talks to spouse of a wrongful death victim

Benefits of Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

Holding the party responsible for your loved one’s death accountable can bring justice for your family member and prevent another family from going through a similar situation.

For example, if your loved one died due to a product liability injury, filing a wrongful death lawsuit can result in defective products being removed from the market. 

A wrongful death lawsuit will also compensate family members who depended on a loved one for financial support.

A wrongful death action can compensate for lost wages and benefits that the family would have received had the person not died. 

Compensation awarded in a court might include:

  • Loss of income and future earnings of the deceased family member
  • Loss of benefits the deceased person would have earned throughout a lifetime
  • Funeral expenses and costs
  • Loss of household services and contributions by the deceased family member
  • Loss of love, affection, moral support, encouragement, guidance, and other intangible forms of support

Several factors will determine the amount of lost future income, such as age, health, education, career, and skills.

Experts are used to calculating the estimated loss of income.

Funeral costs awarded are the reasonable amounts paid to the funeral home and other companies for the funeral.

It’s hard to place a value on the contributions a family member would have provided if they didn’t die.

There’s no formula to calculate this amount.

For a grieving family

A grieving family will find having a wrongful death lawyer will make proving a wrongful death easier and ensures fair compensation.

Who Can File a Claim for Wrongful Death?

Typically, only a personal representative or party named in the deceased’s will can initiate a wrongful death claim.

If a person hasn’t been called, the courts will appoint someone.

Part of the compensation awarded to the affected parties is used to pay reasonable and necessary expenses.

These expenses include attorney’s fees, funeral and burial expenses, and appropriate hospital and medical expenses.

The remaining compensation is paid out according to the real parties affected by the death.

Distributions made to family members depend on whether or not the deceased was married, had children, unmarried children, siblings, surviving parents, and other factors

The beneficiaries who can collect from a wrongful death lawsuit are limited to the following parties:

  • Spouse
  • A minor child
  • Adult children
  • Financial dependents that can prove financial hardship due to the loss of the deceased person’s financial support

Hiring a Wrongful Death Attorney

Unintentional injuries are a leading cause of death in the United States.

These injuries can be caused by drunk driving accidents and other motor vehicle accidents, construction accidents, premises liability incidents, and medical malpractice.

No matter what caused the death, it’s essential to ensure the appropriate parties are compensated.

That’s why it’s essential to seek legal representation after a wrongful death.

In the wake of losing a loved one, handling a wrongful death case can be difficult and emotionally draining.

A wrongful death lawyer will make sure you can cover the medical expenses and burial costs as well as other damages that resulted from the death of your loved one.

If you’re ready to discuss your case with a team you can trust, Larry Nussbaum Trial Attorneys is here to help. 

Schedule a free consultation to get started.

Family of a victim of a fatal accident call a lawyer.
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