When a person is injured in an accident, he can file a case against the party who is responsible for the injury and claim compensation. But what happens in cases where the victim dies? The person is no longer alive to file a suit. In such cases, his close relatives or heirs can file a civil suit under the wrongful death law.
Under the wrongful death law, preponderance of evidence is sufficient for issuing a judgment in the complainant’s favor. This means that there is no requirement for submission of proof beyond all doubt. It is enough if the charges are more likely to be true than not, with the likelihood being more than 50%. However it should be noted that criminal proceedings can also be filed against the person / persons responsible for wrongful death.
The wrongful death law is most useful to victims’ families when a company is responsible for the wrongful death of a person. Families of people who have died due to cigarette smoking have filed wrongful death claims under this law. However, the amount of liability will be decided based on the law of the state where the charges are filed.
Wrongful death can be caused either by accidents or medical negligence:
There are many situations under which the victims’ families can file a wrongful death claim. For instance, when the person who has caused the accident is not insured, or the person killed was also partially at fault.
This covers wrongful deaths caused by any healthcare provider, that is, a doctor, a nurse or a medical assistant. Claims can be made under the wrongful death law when the health care provider has failed to follow standard practices when rendering healthcare. He has failed to provide sufficient care, has not exhibited the required skill and has not put to practice his learning. Even in cases where medical negligence is only one of the causes of death, such a claim can be filed if death would not have occurred if there was no medical negligence.