Wrongful death is such a terribly broad concept. Isn’t just about any death an unwelcome and therefore wrongful one? But wrongful death in the context of a legal setting really means a death that could have been prevented had some other person or entity been more careful. But for the negligence, carelessness, recklessness, or willful disregard of some at-fault party, your loved one would still be with you. This is what makes the death ‘wrong’ in a legal context.
A wrongful death action is essentially a more serious form of personal injury claim. We at Fullerton Law, P.A. handle hundreds of serious personal injury and wrongful death cases every year. We are aggressive, skilled, and knowledgeable, but still have the compassion that is critical to working with people who have been injured or whose lives have been forever altered by the loss of a loved one.
Not all personal injury attorneys can manage wrongful death claims. There are unique legal issues, damage claims, and court approval requirements to wrongful death cases that can be too easily missed by the unskilled practitioner. Fortunately, with Fullerton Law, P.A. you have access to reputable attorneys capable of and experienced in this type of practice.
What can cause a wrongful death is as expansive as the unique damages experienced by individuals who have lost a loved one. But generally, there are some major areas where we tend to focus our capabilities. For instance, there are approximately 650 fatalities caused by traffic crashes in Minnesota every year, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Many of these involve the use of alcohol, which can often times implicate a liquor license holder that has illegally served alcohol to the person who ultimately caused the fatal crash. Fullerton Law, P.A. has competent experience in handling car crash fatalities, including those that involve alcohol and illegal service (often referred to as dram shop claims). We also have experience handling crashes involving motorcycles, phantom or unknown at-fault parties, commercial vehicles such as large trucks, and unclear accident facts requiring the use of professional accident reconstructionists.
The compensation to which you are entitled will also vary, depending on the cause of death and the statutes under which the legal action will fall. In the most fundamental example, a jury is told to consider the following factors in a cause of action for wrongful death.
- The contributions of the decedent in the past.
- The life expectancy of the decedent at the time of death.
- The health, age, habits, talents, and success of the decedent.
- The occupation of the decedent.
- The past earnings of the decedent.
- The likely future earning capacity and prospects of self betterment of the decedent.
- The personal living expenses of the decedent, including the cost of supporting children
- The legal obligation of the decedent. to support the surviving spouse and other next of kin, and the likelihood that the decedent would have fulfilled that obligation.
- All reasonable expenses incurred for a funeral and burial, and all reasonable expenses for support due to the last sickness of the decedent, including necessary medical and hospital expenses incurred after and as a result of the injuries causing death.
- The probability of decedent’s paying a particular debt owed.
- The counsel, guidance, and aid the decedent would have given.
- The advice, comfort, assistance, and protection that decedent would have given had decedent lived.
- The lost time together between decedent and others, factoring in the life expectancy of each claimant.
Juries are forbidden from awarding general damages money for:
- Punishing the defendant/wrongdoer
- Grief or emotional distress of the surviving spouse and the next of kin
- Pain and suffering of the decedent before decedent’s death.
You need someone representing you who not only has the determination to see that you receive fair compensation, but who has the skills to do so. Contact Fullerton Law, P.A. for a free consultation on the wrongful death claim you may have for the loss of your loved one.