When an accident results in a death, it can be one of the most emotionally devastating events that your family might experience. Sadly, individuals frequently find themselves uninformed when it comes to the legal options that they have to address this type of grievance. Dispelling three notions concerning wrongful death lawsuits should allow you to be better prepared for this unfortunate situation.

Wrongful Death Claims Can Result In Criminal Penalties

Following the death of a loved one, it can be easy for individuals to want to see the person involved serve jail time. However, you should understand that a wrongful death lawsuit is strictly a civil matter. While it may be possible for the local authorities to decide there is enough evidence to warrant prosecution, this will be unrelated to your claim.

Only Immediate Family Can Pursue A Wrongful Death Claim

Following a death, the closest family members of the deceased are typically allowed to bring these claims. However, some people assume that these individuals are the only ones that can pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. Yet, many states allow other parties to initiate these claims. For example, some states will also allow business partners to file these lawsuits. However, there are often rules that only allow one party to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit, and the immediate family will typically be given priority in pursuing these claims.

You Can Only Recover Costs That Directly Stem From The Accident

A wrongful death can result in substantial expenses for the victim's family. This can include the medical treatment that was administered to save the deceased as well as any property damages that they incurred. While you may understand that the courts will allow you to pursue recovering these damages, there are other damages that you may also be able to claim. This can include loss of quality of life, loss of companionship and punitive damages. The exact damages that can be recovered in a wrongful death case will depend on the laws of your state as well as the factors surrounding the death. Therefore, you should consult with an experienced attorney prior to deciding whether to pursue a wrongful death claim.

Making sure that justice is served in a wrongful death case will require you to be informed. Knowing that a wrongful death lawsuit does not involve criminal proceedings, the parties that can pursue these cases and the damages that are eligible for compensation should make you better able to get justice for this tragic loss.

For more information, talk to a professional like Schey Piller Alspaugh & Wong Pc.