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A wrongful death case is brought on behalf of an individual who died because of the negligence of a third party. A wrongful death suit provides the family of the deceased to recover for monetary losses – such as the loss of income, loss of companionship, funeral and burial costs, loss of expected income, loss of care, guidance, and nurturing, and loss of consortium – associated with the death of their loved one.
The following must be shown in order to bring a successful wrongful death lawsuit: (1) a person has died (2) the death was caused by a third party's negligence (3) the person that died is survived by immediate family members (for example, a spouse and children) (4) the surviving family members have experienced a loss as a result of the victim’s death.
More often than not professional negligence frequently plays a role in a wrongful death suit when the incident occurs due to medical care or the death results due to an accident at the place of work. Damages awarded depend largely on how responsibility is established. In some cases, the deceased individual may be held partially responsible for his or her own death, depending on circumstances, but this is not a complete bar to recovery.