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How a wrongful death lawsuit works

If you're considering bringing a wrongful death lawsuit against a person who caused a loved one to pass away in a car accident or other incident, then you need to understand the elements of the lawsuit itself. There are certain aspects of the case that must be present for you to take it to court, and there are several other factors that will determine if you have the potential to win the lawsuit. The most obvious element of a wrongful death lawsuit is the death of an individual. The individual who dies must be a human.

That person must have been killed by another person's intent to cause harm or negligence. That means that even if the death was accidental, the wrongful death lawsuit can still be filed. On top of these factors, a family member must still be alive who has suffered monetary damages due to this death. A good example would be a child who now has no parent to provide food or shelter; the child is essentially living without his or her father or mother's wages.

A person must be appointed for the deceased's estate planning before the case can move forward. This person is the representative of the estate and may need to appear in court. Once the case is won, the damages recovered will be returned into the estate and used according to any information on dividing those assets that is provided.

There are ways to seek compensation for monetary losses, pain and suffering, a loss of companionship and other losses after a wrongful death. Each requires inclusion in your legal action.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Overview," accessed June 17, 2015

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