Catastrophic Injury & Wrongful Death Guide
Injuries that cause brain damage, spinal cord damage, neck damage, severe burns, and amputation, among other permanent injuries, qualify as catastrophic injury.
Wrongful death is a term used to refer to death caused by the negligence of another person or party. Wrongful death claims are common after medical malpractice or vehicle accidents. The deceased person’s family can file a claim seeking monetary compensation for the death of their loved one.
Different states have different regulations on wrongful death claims. Therefore, it’s important for the family of the deceased to use a seasoned wrongful death attorney knowledgeable on claims affecting the state in question.
Who can act as a plaintiff in a wrongful death claim?
In some US states, the next of kin can file a claim because of the damages resulting from their loved ones’ death. In other states, family members can file a claim on behalf of the deceased. This is made possible through statutes (survival acts) that preserve a deceased person’s rights after death and allow survivors to file claims based on the deceased’s rights. This includes damages resulting from death itself. Other states allow both lawsuits but offer provisions limiting the rights of survivors to prevent double recovery.
There are also differences in plaintiffs, depending on jurisdictions. Generally, the children and spouse of the deceased individual are allowed to file a claim. However, parents of a deceased person designated as beneficiaries have the right to be plaintiffs in some states. In many states, if the deceased doesn’t have parents, children, or a spouse, no one can act as a plaintiff in a wrongful death claim. Few states allow distant relatives to act as plaintiffs in such cases.
There are states that allow administrators or executors of a deceased’s estate to act as plaintiffs. If the state in question recognizes same-sex marriage or common-law marriage, the domestic partner of the deceased can also be the plaintiff.
Given the differences per jurisdiction, it’s advisable to consult a wrongful death attorney to get sound advice.
Wrongful death litigation
Tort theory applies in most wrongful death claims. In most cases, the defendant is held liable and responsible for resulting damages provided their negligence contributed in some way to the death, alongside other circumstances. A defendant’s conduct doesn’t need to be the sole reason for death.
Plaintiffs are charged with the responsibility of proving a defendant’s legal liability. They also need to establish they type as well as the amount of damages. In some states, plaintiffs can recover a deceased’s funeral expenses, medical care, loss of future earning capacity, general damages, loss of consortium, and loss of a deceased’s benefits (like medical, pension, and health insurance coverage benefits). Plaintiffs can also recover damages such as punitive damages and their own suffering or mental anguish in some jurisdictions depending on a judge’s or jury’s findings.
The manner and methods used to calculate damages in wrongful death cases are complex. Many factors are considered ranging from pecuniary loss (depending on the life and work-life expectancy of the deceased) to the life expectancy of beneficiaries. Past contributions, familial concerns, personal habits, and spending behaviors are also considered. The complexity of these calculations requires experienced personal injury attorneys knowledgeable on wrongful death claims.
Neck and Spine Injuries can be life-changing for both victims and their loved ones. The injuries can cause permanent disabilities leading to significant medical costs. Neck and spine injuries are caused by many factors ranging from negligence of other parties in car accidents to falls, slips, gunshot wounds, and more. The injuries fall under strict liability, negligence, and third party liability (companies making faulty products).
Brain injuries can inflict temporary or permanent physical, social, cognitive, and vocational changes. Recovery is usually a lifelong process characterized by adjustments and accommodations. The injuries include traumatic brain injuries common in vehicle and motorcycle accidents. Brain injuries are linked to sudden physical impact on the head. However, some aren’t traumatic. For instance, deprivation of oxygen can cause brain injury.
Amputations or loss of a limb/s is common in vehicle crashes. It can also occur because of medical negligence. Amputations can also occur after a traumatic injury. They result in long-lasting and costly life-changing experiences. They can also cause mental health problems like depression.
Severe burns have a physical, mental, and monetary cost. According to the ABA (American Burn Association), 96%+ of burn victims treated in burn centers in the US recover. However, most suffer serious scaring, adjustment difficulties, and life-long physical disabilities. Burns caused by direct or indirect negligence of another party or person should be compensated.
The same applies to all other catastrophic injuries and wrongful death claims. Victims/their families need seasoned personal injury lawyers (wrongful death lawyers or catastrophic injury lawyers) to collect evidence, do investigations, and prove liability of other parties. Attorneys also fight for fair settlements that factor in the future impact of the death or injuries in question.
Oberheiden Law firm is among the few personal injury law firms in the US that have helped victims of catastrophic injury and wrongful death get paid over $60 billion in settlements. The law firm is tested and proven. Get a FREE consultation with an Oberheiden Law attorney NOW and pay ZERO fees until you win the case.