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What is Wrongful Death?

A Legal Definition

Under the law, a wrongful death occurs when a person loses their life because of the negligence or misconduct of another individual, organization, or entity. This covers accidents on the job, as well as criminal cases, like murder. A claim must be filed by the deceased’s immediate family members, most commonly the surviving spouse and children. These people are often referred to as distributees.

Elements of a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The criteria for establishing a wrongful death cause of action are as follows:

  • The death of a human being;
  • Caused by someone else’s negligence, or with intent to cause harm;
  • Family members who are suffering monetary injury due to the death, and;
  • The appointment of a personal representative for the deceased’s estate.

Damages in a Wrongful Death Suit

In a wrongful death lawsuit, the main measure of damages is the pecuniary injury. Pecuniary injuries are the financial losses suffered by the surviving family members. Courts have interpreted this to include loss of support, services, lost prospect of inheritance, and medical and funeral expenses. Distributees may also be eligible to recover for financial losses if they paid or are responsible for the deceased’s funeral or medical care. The damage award will also include interest from the date of the deceased’s death.

If you have lost someone you love in an accident or as the result of a crime, you have a right to recover for your damages. Contact the Kenosha wrongful death lawyers of Habush Habush & Rottier S.C. ® at 866.499.4700 for a free consultation. We will discuss your case and further legal options.