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The premise of a wrongful death claim is that the negligence or reckless acts of one party caused the untimely and preventable passing of another party. A wrongful death claim is similar to a personal injury claim, except that it is filed by the victim’s dependents, rather than by the victim. Surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party in effort to recover financial losses incurred due to their loved one’s passing.
Delaware law grants the family of the deceased the right to pursue legal action against the negligent party responsible for the death. Potential claimants in a wrongful death action include the deceased’s spouse, parents, children, or siblings. Plaintiffs may pursue compensation for injury-related expenses, including medical expenses; benefits and wages the victim would have received had he or she lived; loss of household and child care contributions; and burial and funeral costs. Non-economic damages may also be awarded and include compensation for pain and suffering. All damages will be awarded to the family of the deceased. A personal injury claim can turn into a wrongful death claim if the injured party passes away.
The Delaware state code addresses legal implications if the negligent party passes as well. Legal action can be pursued against a representative from the negligent party’s estate. A negligent party is not always a person. It can also be a “vessel,” such as a car. In these instances, the estate can pursue legal action against the vehicle’s manufacturer.
Any situation that may give rise to a personal injury claim would classify as a wrongful death if the injured party dies from his or her injury. This includes any death resulting from:
It is the duty of the plaintiff to show that the other party was negligent because of an act or the failure to act appropriately.
Delaware has a statute of limitations for wrongful death suits. In general, a claim must be filed within two years of the victim’s death. Wrongful death claims are civil cases. If criminal activity was involved, the state prosecutor is tasked with charging the negligent party. The negligent party can be involved in a civil and criminal case regarding the same incident.
Since 1990, the dedicated attorneys at Rhoades & Morrow have been working for injured victims and their families throughout Delaware. We understand the pain experienced by those who have suffered the tragic loss of a family member because of someone else’s negligent or reckless actions. We work tirelessly to hold these parties accountable and secure justice for our clients. Schedule a free consultation with an experienced Delaware wrongful death lawyer today at our Wilmington office by calling 302-427-9500, or call our Bear office at 302-834-8484, or our Milford office at 302-422-6705. You can also contact us online.