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Filing a wrongful death lawsuit in the wake of a loved one's death

The death of a loved one is always a difficult reality to face. However, when a loved one's death is the result of another individual's negligent acts, the pain and grief are often magnified. In cases where a loved one is involved in a fatal truck, pedestrian or bicycle accident; family members may choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit.

Wrongful death lawsuits may serve to provide answers and a sense of closure for surviving family members related to a loved one's death. Additionally, monetary damages may be awarded related to lost income, medical expenses, loss of parental guidance and funeral expenses.

Like most legal actions, wrongful death lawsuits must be filed within a certain timeframe after a loved one's death. The timeframe or statute of limitations varies from state to state and is determined from the date on which a formal cause of death is entered.

In some cases, a wrongful death lawsuit may be filed years after a loved one’s death. For example, say a loved one was killed in a truck and car accident that was initially deemed to be weather related. Years later, however, it's determined that faulty brakes in the truck were the cause. Surviving family members may then choose to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the auto manufacturer and related responsible parties.

A loved one's death is not only difficult to deal with personally and emotionally, but often also results in family members taking on extra financial responsibilities. Obviously nothing will right the mistakes or wrongs that contributed to a loved one's death. However, by taking legal action many families are able to find peace and also recover compensation to account for death-related financial losses.

Source: FindLaw.com, "Wrongful Death," 2014

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