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Wrongful death claims must meet certain qualifications

Last week, we discussed the possibility of seeking exemplary damages in a wrongful death case. That information might have some of our Texas readers wondering exactly what it means when someone is suing for wrongful death or accused of wrongful death. A wrongful death claim has some very specific qualifications that must be met.

Wrongful death occurs when someone dies because of another person's negligence. It can also be when someone dies because of the intentional actions of another person. The person who died must have surviving family members who are suffering monetary damages because of the loss of their loved one. A personal representative must be appointed to the estate of the person who was killed.

The family members who are left behind can opt to seek compensation for the damages they have because of the death. Determining how much compensation they should seek is something that must be done on a case-by-case basis. As we discussed last week, exemplary damages are one type of damages the can be claimed.

There is a variety of incidents that might occur that can lead to wrongful death claims. Criminal behavior, work injuries, vehicle accidents and medical malpractice are some examples of incidents that might lead to a wrongful death claim. A shootout that kills a bystander might lead to a wrongful death claim. Exposure to asbestos in the course of work-related duties might end in a wrongful death lawsuit. A plane, train, car, bus, boat or truck accident that claims a life can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit. A doctor failing to diagnose cancer in a patient who later dies can lead to a wrongful death lawsuit.

In all cases, the first step to a wrongful death case is determining the correlation between the action that caused the death and who was responsible for it. From there, preparing the case and filing the case are necessary. Because of time limitations for filing these claims, it is vital for anyone who has lost a loved one to work swiftly to decide how to proceed with his or her case.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Overview" Oct. 05, 2014

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