Losing a loved one is difficult enough, but when it happens because of someone else’s negligence, the pain seems even worse. According to a report from the Insurance Information Institute, in 2014, nearly 10,000 people died because of drunk drivers. That’s nearly 10,000 people who didn’t come home to their loved ones just because of drivers who got behind the wheel after having too much to drink.
Along with losing a person, a family also loses the help and support that person provided. The family members also often acquire additional expenses because of the person’s medical requirements and ultimate death. This can leave many families in debt because of someone else’s negligence. Fortunately, they may be able to receive compensation for these expenses by making wrongful death claims.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death claims are complicated, and not everyone is able to file wrongful death claims when they lose those who are important to them. However, those who can include:
- Immediate family members. Family members such as a spouse, children, and parents of unmarried children can recover damages in wrongful death cases.
- Distant family members. In some situations, more distant family members like brothers, sisters, and grandparents can make claims for wrongful death.
- Life partners, putative spouses, and financial dependents. Domestic and life partners and those who were financially dependent on the deceased are often able to recover damages due to wrongful death.
- Anyone who suffers financially. In some situations, anyone who depends on the deceased financially may be entitled to receive compensation for a wrongful death case.
What Damages Can Victims Seek?
The types of damages that wrongful death victims can seek are very specific. The law states that victims are only able to make certain types of compensation: economic and non-economic.
- Economic damages. These types of damages include the value of the contributions the victim would have made to the survivors if he or she didn’t die, such as medical and funeral expenses related to the death, as well as the loss of benefits, the victim’s expected earnings, and inheritance because of the victim’s death.
- Non-economic damages. Victims can seek non-economic damages from a loved one’s death. These are less tangible than economic damages, but are often more valuable. They include: loss of love, companionship, and society of the deceased; damages for the survivors’ mental anguish or pain and suffering; loss of consortium; and damages for the survivors’ mental anguish and pain.
Considerations for Wrongful Death Victims of Drunk Drivers
If your loved one was killed by a drunk driver, you may feel overwhelmed and not know where to begin when it comes to filing a claim. This is understandable and expected. However, if you want to have a chance of getting compensation to pay for things like funeral expenses, medical bills, and the loss of the life you would’ve shared together if he or she wasn’t killed, you’ll need to file a claim before the statute of limitations runs out. In most states, victims have two years from the date the death occurred to file claims. If you fail to file a claim within the time frame, you won’t have a chance to take your case to court.
Additionally, the amount of compensation you can claim isn’t always clear. With the help of an attorney, you can get an idea of what you can ask for. Your legal team may consult with economists and other experts to determine the proper amount of damages. In order to come up with a clear and reasonable amount, however, you’ll first need a team of experienced and dedicated legal professionals on your side. The attorneys of Wayne Wright will do what they can to help you receive the compensation you and your family deserve. Schedule your appointment to speak with one of our compassionate legal professionals by calling 800.237.3334 and get started seeking the help you need for you and your family.