Accidents happen every day. Car crashes, medication errors, and defective products are just a few common causes of serious, accidental injuries and death. When these tragic situations occur, families are left with many questions. They want to know how and why the accident happened, and who is to blame. Many times, the death was not a result of any one particular factor – just a terrible accident. There are situations, however, in which the death came as a direct result of negligence by a person or business. In these cases, it is possible for families to file a legal claim and recover compensation.
What Is Wrongful Death?
In Delaware, a wrongful death claim can be brought in civil court against a person or entity “whose wrongful act causes the death of another.” A wrongful act is defined as an act, neglect or default for which a person could have pursued a personal injury case had the deceased person survived. Essentially, a wrongful death case is a personal injury case brought by the surviving family of a deceased person, whose death makes it impossible to bring the case himself. A number of people are allowed to file a wrongful death case in Delaware, including:
- Other blood or marital relations if there are no other surviving family members
Those who wish to file a wrongful death claim have two years from the date of the person’s death to do so. After two years, Delaware court will not hear the case.
Types of Compensation That Can Be Recovered
The amount of compensation that can be awarded in a wrongful death case can vary greatly. The amount is determined by a judge or jury, which will consider all the relevant facts and circumstances surrounding the case. Compensation can be recovered for:
- Funeral expenses. In Delaware, these expenses must be “reasonable,” and not exceed $7,000.
- Loss of household services. This includes the cost of childcare that may be necessary after the death of a parent.
- Loss of income and benefits.
- Loss of child support or alimony.
- Mental anguish resulting from the death.
Every wrongful death case is unique and should be assessed by an experienced attorney. If your loved one died as a result of an accident or someone’s mistake, you may be entitled to pursue a claim. Contact the knowledgeable Delaware Workers' Compensation Lawyers at Morris James Personal Injury Group for a free, no-obligation consultation.