Gulfport Wrongful Death Lawyer
While the death of a loved one is always a tragic and overwhelming experience, these emotions may be amplified if their passing was unexpected or sudden. Along with the tragedy of this loss, these types of deaths often leave a family with personal and financial losses as well.
If you believe your loved one’s death was due to someone else’s careless or reckless behavior, consider reaching out to a compassionate Gulfport wrongful death lawyer to discuss your situation. A caring personal injury attorney may be able to investigate the circumstances of a loved one’s death on your behalf in order to determine if you have legal recourse.
How is a Wrongful Death Defined in Gulfport?
Civil actions for a wrongful, unjust, or untimely death are addressed under Mississippi Code §11-7-13. According to this statute, if a death arose from a negligent or wrongful act that would have otherwise given rise to an injury claim had the deceased party survived, that incident could merit a claim on the basis of a wrongful death.
Specifically, these cases may be pursued when deaths are caused by a broad range of wrongful acts or the absence of a reasonable act. This may include the use of an unsafe product or appliance, a breach of warranty, defective medications, or a medical professional’s error. In the same vein, a motor vehicle wreck or a fatal injury suffered on someone else’s property may form the basis for a wrongful death claim.
Who Can File a Claim for the Deceased?
Generally, there are multiple surviving parties that may file a wrongful death suit on behalf of the deceased. These usually include:
- A personal representative of the decedent’s estate
- The surviving spouse of the deceased
- A parent or child of the deceased
- Any siblings of the deceased person
A knowledgeable Gulfport attorney could explain the specific nuances of who may pursue a wrongful death claim and how any compensation is divided between authorized claimants. If, for example, the deceased person has a spouse and living children, any damages received in a claim would usually be divided equally among them. If the deceased has no living spouse or children, on the other hand, their parents or siblings could bring a lawsuit forward and any awarded damages would then be divided equally between them.
The Difference Between a Criminal and Civil Case for Untimely Death
In some situations, criminal charges may also be filed against the defendant of a civil case for a wrongful or untimely death. Differentiating between the two is important for any claimant seeking compensation. Essentially, a criminal case is brought by a prosecutor on behalf of the public, while a civil case is brought by a representative or relative of the deceased.
While a criminal conviction could result in prison time, fines, or community service, a civil suit may result in the defendant (or more likely the defendant’s insurance company) paying damages to the wrongful death beneficiaries. Both can take place concurrently, but their outcomes can be different. This means that even if a defendant is convicted of a criminal charge related to a wrongful death, they do not automatically owe damages to a plaintiff in a civil case.
However, a criminal conviction may help sway a jury or judge to render a verdict in favor of the plaintiff in a civil claim. Regardless of the circumstances of a criminal case, it may be essential for a person seeking damages following a wrongful death to consult with a tenacious and hard-working lawyer in Gulfport in order to try to file a timely and thorough claim.
How a Gulfport Wrongful Death Attorney Might Help
While a civil case cannot bring your loved one back, it may help to ease the subsequent burdens of their passing by bringing some form of justice and financial security. By working with a Gulfport wrongful death lawyer, you could focus on spending time with your family with the knowledge that a legal professional is by your side and handling the details of your legal case. Whenever you feel ready, consider reaching out to a caring and steadfast attorney to discuss your circumstances. Consultations are always free.