The loss of a family member is always difficult, and even more so when their death was caused by someone else’s negligence. After such a tragedy, you may be uncertain of how to hold the person accountable while dealing with your own grieving process.
Under Delaware state law, surviving family members of the victim of a fatal accident have the right to seek compensation through a wrongful death lawsuit. A Wilmington wrongful death lawyer can walk families through this process and help them pursue restitution. If you have experienced a tragic loss, speak to a compassionate attorney at Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya to learn your legal options.
How Do Wrongful Death Claims Work?
According to Delaware Code Title 10 §3722, a person whose reckless or careless behavior leads to someone else’s death may have a civil action “maintained” against them. In other words, if a deceased person would have been able to file a personal injury lawsuit had they survived, certain family members have the right to pursue a claim.
Accordingly, the standard for liability in wrongful death suits is generally same as in other personal injury claims. To recover compensation, a claimant and their lawyer must prove that the defendant violated a duty of care they owed to the decedent. Then, the claimant must demonstrate that this breach proximately caused the decedent’s death.
Who Can Pursue Wrongful Death Litigation?
As per Del. Code Tit. 10 §3724, the surviving spouse, parent, children, and/or siblings of a deceased individual have grounds to seek compensation through a wrongful death claim for mental anguish. If none of those parties are available, any person who was financially dependent on the deceased person or paid their funeral costs can maintain an action for those losses.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Wilmington
It is important for surviving family members to understand the statute of limitations for wrongful death claims. Del. Code Tit. 10 §8107 sets a filing deadline of two years following the decedent’s date of death for this kind of case. Those considering a wrongful death claim should consult a seasoned attorney in their area as soon as possible to preserve their right to recover compensation.
Damages in Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims are meant to compensate surviving family members for damages they suffered due to the loss of a loved one. As such, recovery works a little differently than it does in typical personal injury cases. Under state law, recoverable damages available in a wrongful death case may include:
- Loss of income and other financial benefits the decedent would have provided in the future
- Loss of child or spousal support
- Loss of household services and/or assistance with childcare
- Up to $7,000 of funeral expenses
- Mental anguish
If the decedent suffered damages before their moment of death, surviving family could also recover for these losses through a separate claim called a “survival action.” A knowledgeable wrongful death lawyer at our Wilmington office can further explain this type of claim during a private consultation.
Call a Wilmington Wrongful Death Attorney for Dedicated Support
If one of your family members recently lost their life in a fatal accident, it may be overwhelming to think about pursuing civil litigation on your own. Let a compassionate attorney at Doroshow, Pasquale, Krawitz, and Bhaya handle your case on your behalf.
A Wilmington wrongful death attorney can pursue the compensation your family needs to gain financial security and a sense of accountability for your losses. If you have any questions about your legal options, give us a call today and set up a confidential consultation.