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What is wrongful death?

Wrongful death is an important legal protection for families of loved ones wrongfully killed in an accident. A wrongful death claim for damages allows surviving families of loved ones killed by the negligence of another party to bring a claim for the damages they have suffered. Wrongful death claims are brought on behalf of the estate of the lost loved one wrongfully killed for the benefit of surviving family members.

Damages that may be available to surviving family members in a wrongful death claim for damages depend on the circumstances and characteristics of the victim but generally include certain types of damages. Damages that may be available through a wrongful death claim can include compensation for medical expenses, funeral expenses, loss of support and services and lost prospect of inheritance among others that may be possible in certain situations.

A wrongful death claim for damages can help families unexpectedly coping with the financial and emotional challenges associated with the untimely loss of their loved one. It can also help hold the negligent party responsible for the fatal accident, such as a negligent driver, accountable for the harm they have caused and ensure surviving family members have the resources needed to help them with the challenges and difficulties they face.

The unexpected loss of a loved one may be one of the hardest situations a family can face. The legal process is aware of this and, as a result, provides legal options, resources and protections to surviving family members when their loved one has been wrongfully killed.

Source:, "Wrongful Death Overview," Oct. 27, 2017

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