Have you recently lost a family member due to an unexpected death caused by someone else? If so, you probably have questions about wrongful death action. 

You may have heard about “wrongful death claims” in the news or from others, but you may not know what they are. What does it mean to make a wrongful death claim? What does the law consider wrongful death? 

What is a wrongful death claim? 

A wrongful death claim is a civil complaint against someone who is liable for the death of someone else. Often, family members of the decedent, or deceased, bring forth such complaints. Historically, only close relatives could file wrongful death claims; however, lawmakers have changed this in more recent times. Today, the decedent’s executors and administrators can also file lawsuits. 

What constitutes “wrongful” death? 

According to the law, any “tortious” injury presents a possible cause for wrongful death. Tortious injuries are any injuries involving torts. There are generally three categories of torts: 

  • Intentional torts 
  • Negligent torts 
  • Strict liability torts 

Intentional torts occur when someone causes intentional harm. For example, pushing someone is an intentional tort. Negligent torts refer to injuries caused by the failure to heed precautions. If someone fails to warn others of impending danger, the law considers that negligence. Strict liability torts focus less on the care taken by the defendant. Instead, the extent of the injury is the primary focus. Faulty products that lead to death can fall under this third category. 

Why take action? 

Wrongful death can have devastating consequences for surviving family members. When someone unexpectedly dies, it can leave a family without a primary source of income. In addition, funeral costs often put families in a difficult place. 

Financial problems are not the only concern, of course. Losing someone to wrongful death can have a significant impact on a family’s emotional well-being as well. This kind of loss can be difficult to put a number on, but it is no less important. 

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