Losing a loved one is a life-changing experience no matter the circumstances. But what recourse does a family have when their loved one passes away due to the negligence of another person or corporate entity? Surviving family members tend to encounter many legal and financial challenges in the aftermath of an untimely loss. In fact, they often don’t even have time to grieve because their attention is so focused on paying medical bills, funeral expenses, probate fees, and estate taxes. Fortunately, a family suffering these circumstances can pursue justice and restitution by filing a wrongful death claim.
What Makes a Death “Wrongful?”
Per Mississippi Code § 11-7-13, surviving family members can file a wrongful death claim if their loved one’s loss was caused by “any real, wrongful or negligent act or omission,” a defective product (product liability), or an unsafe item intended for human consumption (such as food or medication).
This statute can apply to deaths that are the result of:
- Medical malpractice
- Automobile accidents
- Construction incidents
- Airplane crashes
- Workplace accidents
- Nursing home neglect and/or abuse
- Premises liability incidents
Establishing Liability in a Wrongful Death Case
A wrongful death claim is a civil lawsuit, not a criminal one. These cases are very similar to personal injury lawsuits, except that the victim in question isn’t present to represent their own interests. Instead, another party needs to file the claim and seek restitution on behalf of the deceased person. This person can be an immediate family member or a personal representative of the estate.
Establishing negligence can be extremely challenging without qualified legal representation, especially if multiple parties are responsible for a person’s death. For this reason, it’s critical that you retain experienced representation as soon as possible.
To secure damages, the plaintiff’s legal team needs to prove three critical facts:
- The defendant owed a duty of care to the deceased individual
- The defendant breached this duty of care
- The defendant’s actions or choices are responsible for the wrongful death
At Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyer, P.A., our legal team can investigate your case, identify the negligent entities, and collect vital evidence that proves the defending parties are responsible for your loved one’s death. With this information, we can construct a legal strategy that maximizes your claim and holds the defendant accountable for your personal and financial losses.
The Statute of Limitations in Mississippi
A plaintiff typically has 3 years from the date of the death to file a wrongful death claim in Mississippi; however, this deadline decreases to 2 years if the case involves medical malpractice. After the deadline passes, the court may refuse to hear the plaintiff’s case and the defendant’s legal team may have grounds to request a case dismissal. Of course, there are exceptions to this law, so it’s important that you discuss your case with an attorney as soon as possible. For instance, if you were a minor when your loved one passed away, you may have 2 years from the date you turned 21 to file a lawsuit.
Explore Your Options by Scheduling a Consultation Today
While it’s impossible to place a monetary value on grief, a successful lawsuit can yield compensation that facilitates your financial recovery. Contact the wrongful death lawyers at Richard Schwartz & Associates Injury Lawyer, P.A. if you require legal representation after the loss of a family member. Our compassionate legal team has over 40 years of experience and the resources to help you secure a positive case outcome.