If a person or entity is responsible for someone’s death, they may face criminal charges, depending on the circumstances. A drunk driver who kills someone in a crash, for example, can end up behind bars for years.
However, whether someone’s actions or negligence rise to the level of a crime, surviving loved ones may be able to sue for wrongful death. That case would hinge on whether the person or entity owed some type of duty that was breached.
State laws regarding wrongful death and other types of personal injury claims vary. So do their statutes of limitation that designate how long a person has to file a civil lawsuit. Here in Georgia, that is typically two years. However, in cases involving medical malpractice cases, it may be longer.
Surviving loved ones often believe that if the victim was very young, very old or didn’t have a job for some other reason, they can’t seek compensation since no one relied on that person to earn a living. The amount of compensation you can seek may be lower if your loved one didn’t earn an income that you now have to live without. However, you may be entitled to compensation, nonetheless.
Many people contribute to a family in a variety of ways. A stay-at-home mom or dad can be the backbone of a family. Because they take care of the home, kids and perhaps elderly loved ones, others can go out and earn a living.
Parents and other family members can bring a wrongful death suit when a child or a senior citizen dies. Among other things, their loss is the cause of considerable pain and suffering to the family. A wrongful death action can also take into account the pain and suffering of the victim prior to their death.
If you believe you may have a wrongful death suit, it’s essential to seek legal guidance as soon as possible. You don’t want to forfeit your chance to seek justice and compensation in civil court because you let the statute of limitations pass. An experienced attorney can help you determine whether you have a case and, if so, help you pursue it.