What Qualifies as Wrongful Death Litigation?
by Granny's Mettle
In many cases, victims are usually unable to file a lawsuit
themselves, especially when that person is already deceased
or suffered huge injuries. In a wrongful death case, personal
representatives of the estate of a deceased person are
allowed to file a lawsuit against those responsible for
the victim's death. Liability may often arise for both
negligent and intentional acts of the person responsible.
Damages that may be recovered in wrongful death cases
typically include medical, hospital, funeral and burial
expenses. Compensation for the victim's pain and suffering
are also covered, during any period when the victim was
conscious from the time of injury and death.
Losses incurred by the spouse, children, or next of kin
of the deceased may also be recovered. These include loss
of financial support, loss of service, loss of gifts or
other valuable gratuities, loss of parental supervision
and guidance, and loss of society and companionship.
Distribution of the damages from lawsuits on wrongful
deaths may be done among the heirs of the deceased. However,
because the allocation of damages is governed by statute,
it is oftentimes subjected to court oversight. Courts
are covered by laws of interstate succession with regards
to the distribution of damages. Nevertheless, they are
ordinarily free to approve and award damages to certain
family members who may not be legal heirs of the deceased.
Hence, many cases often have family members fighting with
each other on who shall have more control over the representative
of the estate of the deceased. The family member who gets
more control may decide on who the attorney is and will
have greater influence over the distribution of any award
On another note, one interesting case that is being syndicated
in every press available is the lawsuit filed by a couple
whose frozen embryo was accidentally discarded at a fertility
clinic. This is a case where the parents of the deceased
filed a lawsuit, and had a judge ruled for the case.
According to the Associated Press, the couple has the
right to file a wrongful-death lawsuit in accordance to
the Illinois laws. The judge rules on the case in the
opinion that "a pre-embryo is a 'human being'
whether or not it is implanted in its mother's womb."
The judge further added that the couple is entitled to
seek compensation as any parents whose child has been
Based on the state's Wrongful Death Act, lawsuits are
allowed to be filed if unborn fetuses are killed in an
accident or assault. This is where the judge based his
ruling on. In addition, the law states that "the
state of gestation or development of a human being"
does not preclude taking legal action.
The couple who stored nine embryos at the Center for Human
Reproduction in Chicago filed the suit. Their doctor told
them that one embryo looked particularly promising. However,
six months later, they were informed that the embryos
hade been accidentally discarded.
The attorney for the fertility clinic said that an appeal
would be filed by the defendants.
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