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Wrongful Death Claims

Written by Kathleen Gagne
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Wrongful death claims generally result from a sincere belief on the part of a victim's surviving family members that their loved one died as a result of the negligence or criminal actions of another person or entity. Since there is no way to change what happened, these claims are usually for monetary compensation and can result in substantial awards. Bringing wrongful death claims to court is a fairly common procedure, and each state has its own laws regarding how this must occur.

Wrongful Death Claims Process

If a family suspects that they have grounds for a wrongful death claim, survivors should take steps almost immediately to contact an expert wrongful death attorney who will be able to advise them on the merits of their claim and who will help them to determine what actions to take. In some cases, if the family contacts the attorney soon enough, the attorney can demand an autopsy that may support the family's suspicions. Any evidence, including photos, written statements, and more should be brought the to attorney as soon as possible.

The attorney will then gather more evidence and documentation most likely using one or more investigators. The results of this activity may involve obtaining the services of one or more expert witnesses to substantiate the family's observations and claims. It is important that any wrongful death claims be filed within each state's statute of limitation. No matter how valid or compelling a case may be, if it is not filed on time, it will not be considered by the courts.


As noted above, no one believes that winning a wrongful death claim can possibly compensate surviving family members for the loss of their loved one. An award or settlement can, however, help them through the most difficult times and, for a widow, can give her assurance that her children will be able to go to college and that she will be taken care of in her old age. In addition, a wrongful death claim that is granted may result in enough evidence to support a criminal action.

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