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What is a wrongful death and how does a lawsuit work?

A wrongful death is defined as taking the life of an individual through a willful or negligent act. Basically speaking, if a person is killed because of the wrongful conduct of another person, then that person's family or loved ones may be able to file a claim for compensation.

Wrongful deaths are governed by statutes in each state; they define who can sue, what limits apply, and if damages are limited. Wrongful death lawsuits can claim that the death was intentional or unintentional. For instance, if someone loses control of his or her vehicle, then that person may be considered negligent. If he or she kills someone during that accident, it was likely unintentional. However, if a person intends to collide one's vehicle into someone else's, then any deaths that result would be considered intentional, and the driver could still be held liable.

It's normal for direct family members to sue. For instance, mothers, fathers, daughters, sisters, sons, or brothers would be able to sue for the loss of consortium, financial losses, and other concerns. Interestingly, wrongful death lawsuits can't be applied to unborn fetuses, but if the baby is born and dies later, then a wrongful death lawsuit is possible.

A wrongful death lawsuit may not be something you're considering, but it's important to know if it's an option for you. Losing someone you love is a horrible thing, and the claim is meant to help compensate you for that loss. Our website has more information on wrongful death lawsuits, so you can learn the facts and decide if a wrongful death lawsuit could work in your case.

Source:, "Wrongful Death," accessed March 17, 2016

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Philip J. Fulton Law OfficeRepresenting Victims Of Workplace Injuries And Disability

89 East Nationwide Boulevard
Suite 300
Columbus, OH 43215

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Phone: 614-929-3126
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