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What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

The sudden loss of a loved one is one of the most difficult things for a family to endure. Although the sudden loss of a loved one may not automatically mean that the passing was due to the negligence of another, in some cases negligence may play a role. In such cases, the family may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit and be entitled to compensation.

Circumstances which may lead to a wrongful death lawsuit include the death of a loved one following a botched medical procedure or a car or truck accident A wrongful death suit is typically filed by a surviving family member.

In order for a party to bring a wrongful death lawsuit, several elements must be satisfied. These elements include the actual death of a person, the death must have been caused by the negligence of another and the surviving family members must have suffered in some way as a result of the victim's death. Negligence is a reckless or careless act on the part of another. Unlike a criminal proceeding where the burden of proof is beyond a reasonable doubt, a wrongful death lawsuit requires only a preponderance of the evidence, which is a lower standard of proof.

In some cases, more than one party may be responsible for the death of a loved one. Thus, it is important to have the facts surrounding the loss of the loved one closely evaluated by an attorney or law firm familiar with wrongful death cases.

Source: FindLaw, "Wrongful Death Overview," Accessed May 11, 2015

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