Did You Lose a Loved One Because of Someone’s Negligence?
Losing a loved one is never easy for anyone. But it’s especially hard when the family learns the death was caused by someone’s reckless or negligent actions. During this time of grieving, you’re probably more concerned about moving on from the loss than worrying about the expenses associated with the accident. But unfortunately, this is an issue you can’t ignore.
If you lost a loved one because of someone’s negligence in Jackson, Mississippi, you may have a wrongful death lawsuit on your hands. For over two decades, the Jackson wrongful death lawyer at Giddens Law Firm has been helping suffering families with their personal injury claims. We will fight on behalf of your loved one to make sure they get the justice they deserve after an accident.
What is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death is the term used when someone’s negligent actions or their failure to act causes the death of another person. According to Mississippi law, if any person’s death is caused by “any real, wrongful or negligent act or omission,” that individual or company could be held responsible for that death.
Some examples of wrongful death include:
- A defective product or drug
- An accident with a truck or car
- Medical malpractice
Wrongful death is a civil action rather than a criminal action. Since the person killed (decedent) cannot file suit or collect damages, it is the family or representatives of the estate that do so. The intent is to recompense family members who have suffered monetarily and emotionally from the death. Damages can be assessed for lost wages and benefits, loss of companionship, and emotional pain and suffering caused by the trauma of this death.
Only certain family members can bring a wrongful death lawsuit:
- The spouse
- Parents of the deceased
How Can Wrongful Death Be Proven in Jackson, Mississippi?
A defendant can only be held responsible for wrongful death if it can be proved that the defendant’s conduct was the cause of the death. It must be shown that the death would not have occurred without the defendant’s act. The time between the defendant’s action and the death of the decedent is not a factor as long as it can be proved that the defendant’s action was the cause of death. To prove that negligence was the cause of your loved one’s passing, the following will need to be proven:
- The defendant had a duty to keep the victim safe from harm. For example, a medical professional is responsible for the safety and wellbeing of a patient they are treating.
- The defendant failed in their duty. Using the medical professional as an example, while performing surgery on the patient, the surgeon nicks an artery but doesn’t notice the mistake.
- An injury occurred because of the defendant’s breach of duty. The error had caused the patient to bleed out and pass away.
- The injury had caused damages. Because the patient had died, the family is now dealing with financial difficulties.
In Mississippi, if it can be shown that the decedent was partially responsible for his death, then he may be found to have comparative negligence. What this means is the damages will be awarded based on the percentage of negligence imputed to the decedent. Also, if the decedent failed to seek appropriate medical care and that failure led to his death, there may be no grounds for a wrongful death claim or a reduction to an award.
How Are Damages Determined a Wrongful Death Claim in Mississippi?
In a wrongful death claim, damages are assessed to compensate family members for their loss. There are many ways in which damages can be calculated. Since damages can be awarded in a number of areas, it is important to examine each one carefully. The most obvious loss in a case of wrongful death is the actual expenses created by the accident, known as economic damages. This includes medical expenses, funeral costs, loss of wages, and loss of future earnings. These are usually easy to determine for an experienced Jackson wrongful death attorney.
Less obvious but equally important are non-economic damages. These damages are more difficult to calculate since they’re subjective and do not lend themselves to empirical measurements. It is a measure of the emotional pain and suffering experienced by the survivors. Such damages include loss of companionship, emotional distress, and loss of consortium.
A final area of damages is punitive damages. This is an amount awarded to punish the person who caused the death, rather than to compensate the survivors for a specific loss. It can typically only be awarded when the action of the defendant was intentional or grossly negligent and is rarely awarded.
Giddens Law Firm is Here to Help In Your Family’s Time of Need
Giddens Law Firm has built an exceptional reputation throughout the state of Mississippi for relentless pre-trial preparation, case investigation, and use of the latest technologies resulting in many significant jury awards and verdicts. If you or a loved one is in need of legal assistance, call Giddens Law Firm at (601) 355-2022. The initial consultation is free of charge, and if we agree to handle your case, we will work on a contingency fee basis, which means we get paid for our services only if there is a monetary recovery of funds.
In many cases, a lawsuit must be filed before an applicable expiration date, known as a statute of limitations. Please call right away to ensure that you do not waive your right to possible compensation.
Frequently Asked Questions About Wrongful Death in Jackson, MS
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit in Jackson, MS?
According to Mississippi law, a wrongful death claim may be filed by the decedent’s surviving family members. This includes the surviving spouse, parent, child, or siblings. In addition, a personal representative of the estate may be eligible to file the claim to benefit the family members. Those who are eligible to recover compensation all depend on whom the deceased has left behind. This includes:
- If the deceased left a spouse but no children, the damages will go entirely to the spouse.
- If the deceased had a spouse and children, the damages are equally divided between the two parties.
- If the deceased had children but no spouse, the damages are equally divided between the children.
- If the deceased was unmarried and had no children, the damages will be equally divided between the surviving parents and siblings.
What is the Statute of Limitations for a Wrongful Death Suit in Jackson?
In Mississippi, the statute of limitations to file a wrongful death claim is three years. Although this may seem like a large amount of time, it can easily disappear quickly. Evidence and memories easily fade away. That’s why the sooner you speak with a wrongful death lawyer at Giddens Law Firm, the more likely your claim will be successful.
Who Can Be Held Responsible for a Wrongful Death?
Multiple parties can be held responsible for wrongful death. It all depends on what kind of negligence caused your loved one’s death. For example, if your spouse had died after being hit head-on by an 18-wheeler, you may be able to hold not only the truck driver responsible, but also the trucking company who hired the negligent driver, the manufacturer of the vehicle that created faulty auto parties, and any third party brokers who hired the company to deliver its goods.
Another scenario — if you lost a child in an auto accident with a drunk driver, you may be able to not only hold the driver accountable but file a wrongful death lawsuit against the establishment that served them alcohol.
Can I Bring a Wrongful Death Claim Even if the Deceased Was Never Employed?
Yes, even if the descendent did not have a source of income, you can still bring a wrongful death claim. Chances are you can still claim for other damages such as medical costs and pain and suffering.
How Long Will My Wrongful Death Lawsuit Take?
It’s difficult to determine the length of a personal injury case. Some cases can take a few months while other cases can take a couple of years. It all depends on the complexity of your claim and how willing the other party is to negotiate.
How Much is My Wrongful Death Claim Worth?
Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine how much a claim is worth without first getting all the evidence regarding your claim. Once you hire our Jackson wrongful death attorney, we will get to work, investigating the matter and learn who was at fault for the accident. We will sit down with you and work out how much the accident cost you. Once we have all the information, we’ll be able to give you a rough estimate of how much your claim is worth.
If you lost a loved one because of the negligence or a careless act of another, you have the right to file a claim on their behalf. Contact our Jackson wrongful death lawyers today for a free consultation.