Elements of a Wrongful Death Claim

Condolences for the unexpected loss of a loved one! Stay resilient in your period of grief.

Though you may not get them back, you can begin legal action to receive compensation for the wrongful death that occurred. 

Wrongful Death Claim Features

How To Categorize Wrongful Death Claims?

When we begin in identifying a wrongful death claim, it is undertaken by the process of elimination.

In other terms, it is categorizing what it is not. It is not a:

  • Criminal prosecution case
  • It will not result in imprisonment.
  • It will not result in fines in the accumulation of a long-term conviction.
  • The DA has no jurisdiction or influence by becoming involved in the case.

Not well!

Wrongful Death is a civil law case that has an entirely different category. You will receive financial compensation and rectification if your claims turn out to be true.

Otherwise, the case will be dismissed, and you will have to file an appeal instead.

How Does a Wrongful Death Claim Proceed?

Every province and state has a different route regarding hearing wrongful death claims. It works along with jurisdiction as only limited relations can take part in filing the suit.

Claims based on the same case laws are likely to move forward similarly.

As soon as the defense and plaintiff are recognized, the case begins with an investigation. The actual cause of death is identified, and the party responsible for negligence or malafide actions is brought forward.

The at-fault party is held responsible, and an agreement is signed containing future contingencies and compensation amounts.

The Meaning of ‘Wrongful Death’

A death that occurs based on illegal actions or general negligence will result in a wrongful death claim.

These claims include careless and unwanted actions that have resulted in an unfortunate death. These can include car accidents, negligent surgeries, or deadly assaults.

Basically speaking, a wrongful death claim will result in two simultaneous courses of actions

  • The aggrieved party will be compensated for their actions.
  • The at-fault party practices accountability for the negligent actions performed.

Many of these claims are undoubtedly complex, and sometimes courts have trouble identifying the plaintiffs.

Therefore, consult Wrongful Death Lawyers in NC today.

Wrongful Death—Crime or Not a Crime?

Wrongful death is not a crime in itself since it will be heard in civil courts. However, the actions and events that led to the death will trigger a criminal investigation to recognize the perpetrator.

Death is caused by negligent actions performed by another private or artificial entity. 

Wrongful death claims are presented by private lawyers who take a certain percentage from the settlement offer as their earnings.

However, suppose the court decides the case is a criminal case. In that scenario, the responsible party will face penalties, fines, and jail time.

Is Wrongful Death a Civil Case?

Initially, all wrongful death claims are filed as civil suits. However, as the case proceeds, the law of the state or province describes its nature and future.

Furthermore, the place of death also carries significant influence regarding trials as a civil or criminal case.

The individuals who can file the wrongful death suit will be discussed later. However, in gist, it depends on the state laws.

Some states allow immediate relations to file a suit. Other states will accept a case filed by a remote stranger if blood relations do not exist.

Who Can Receive Compensation?

The following relatives are eligible to file a wrongful death case for the deceased. The case will begin after determining jurisdiction and the plaintiff.


A wrongful death claim is brought up by the husband or wife of the deceased. This relationship is usually preferred as the spouse can file a case in any state.


The children can file a suit to be compensated for the negligent death of the parent. However, children can only file the case in most states if the parent refuses to do so.

Siblings or Parents

Siblings or parents are considered the primary blood relationships. Therefore, in most states, they can file a wrongful death claim.

However, they can only file a case in limited scenarios while a few states don’t have the option altogether.


In states where none of the parties mentioned above can file a negligence wrongful death claim for the deceased, the option lies with the state only.

The case can only be heard unless filed by a public lawyer or an official state representative.

Can a Family Claim Compensation for Wrongful Death?

A family can sue for financial compensation under the wrongful death claim. However, the process to file and present the case to the court may vary. 

The compensation figure of the recipient will also be decided if the right person decides to sue or not.

Some states prefer a hierarchical method to decide who can sue for wrongful death and who cannot. It starts with the spouse and the children. 

The wrongful death claim can be either filed by an individual or a group of people. However, the compensation will be divided depending on the number of plaintiffs. 

Wrongful Death Proceedings

After the initial formalities have been done, the case begins just like any other legal proceedings. The preliminary observations are showcased as the death occurred based on negligent acts.

What differentiates the wrongful death claims is the deceased is not present to present their side of the argument. The right is now reserved for families, siblings, children, or estate, as the case may be. 

There is very little probability that the case will go to court. Most wrongful death claims begin and reach an end outside court with a settlement offer.

Both parties reach a mutually acceptable outcome with a compensation figure or other restrictions.

Are You Entitled to Wrongful Death Compensation?

To figure out your stance in a wrongful death claim, immediately consult a lawyer.

You are eligible for compensation if the deceased’s wrongful death resulted in emotional and financial strain, eviction, or any other circumstances that were not possible before.   

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