Filling a Wrongful Death ClaimA wrongful death claim can only be filed by an adult child, next of kin, spouse, or a parent of a minor child within one year of the event. In the absence of an estate plan or will, courts can provide a personal representative who will process all wrongful death claims on behalf of the family or relatives. Because a wrongful death claim is classified as a civil lawsuit and not a criminal lawsuit, only monetary damages can be recovered, but a criminal court case can be sought by the federal and state court or enforcement agencies if admission of guilt can result in a conviction.
Collecting DamagesThe following monetary damages can be collected by a next of kin:
- Future wages that could have been earned to support the family,
- Emotional damages related to grief or sorrow. Emotional distress can cause trauma, depression and anxiety. Also, recovery of expenses in relation to medical treatment can also be sought. A complicated grief can cause deep sadness and bitterness towards others, also leading to social isolation.
- In case there are no immediate kin or relatives to disburse damages, medical bills related to hospitalization and surgical services can be paid to the individuals who were present with the deceased individual.