In order to understand legal topics fully it is of great importance to know the meaning of the legal terms to be used. To start with let us first know the meaning of wrongful death lawsuit. A wrongful death lawsuit asserts that the decedent was killed due to the negligence or the liability of the defendant thus providing the surviving dependents or beneficiaries the right to claim for monetary damages as a result of the defendant's demeanor.
In the past, under the common law a wrongful death lawsuit did not exist since it was explained that the claim is dissolved with the death of the victim thus the surviving family have no right whatsoever to claim for damages. In order to correct such injustice the individual states have passed wrongful death statutes, that is, why there are already existing wrongful death claims in various state jurisdictions. Although these states follow a general principle each state jurisdiction is unique in itself.
In order for an individual to file a wrongful death lawsuit the following elements have to be present and these are as follows: a) the death of the victim was caused either in whole or in part by the conduct of the defendant, b) proofs of the defendant's negligence or his/her strict liability for the victim's death, c) there are surviving beneficiaries and dependents (spouses, children and parents) and d) there should be monetary damages that have resulted from the victim's death. If all these elements are present then you have a wrongful death case.
The wrongful death lawsuit can be filed generally by immediate family members which include spouses, children and even parents can carry out the wrongful death claim of the deceased victim.
However, for cases wherein the surviving dependent is a child under the age of 18 years the law requires a guardian ad item to embody his or her interest in court. But in some states the group of plaintiffs is extended up to grandparents, legal dependents and even members of the extended family.
The time frame involved in filing for a wrongful death lawsuit depends on each state.
Various states have various statute of limitation which identifies the time frame in which a lawsuit must be filed. The time usually covers from the time of the death of the victim. Nonetheless, there are some states that allow a lawsuit to carry on even if the act which caused of the death was not discovered until later.
It is important that dependents and beneficiaries are aware of the time frame allotted by their respective states when it comes to filing a wrongful death lawsuit since a claim whether valid might be denied if it is filed after the statute of limitation is over. Early action on the case may help preserve evidences as well as much easier to locate witnesses that are needed to proceed with the case.
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. About the Author .Jinky C. Mesias is a graduate of Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Business Administration Major in Business Management.
She is at present an Associate Manager of a Life Insurance Corporation and a freelance writer.
By: Jinky C. Mesias