Situations That Warrant a Wrongful Death Lawsuit Claim

A death in the family is always a tragedy. It can be so much worse if you know that the death was avoidable and that someone else was to blame. There is nothing that can truly compensate for the loss of a loved one. In the case of wrongful death, however, taking legal action may help provide closure and address some of the material consequences of your bereavement.

What is a wrongful death lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is a special kind of legal action. It is brought when somebody dies, and the death is the result of someone else’s negligence or because of an intentional act. Wrongful death settlements can help compensate for things like loss of income, the loss of the deceased person’s companionship, and costs relating to medical treatment and funeral expenses.

When is a wrongful death lawsuit applicable?

Although any death is a blow to the bereaved, not all deaths can be deemed “wrongful.” For a wrongful death claim to have merit, the victim would have to have been killed as a result of a wrongful action by the defendant. Here are some examples of situations where a wrongful death lawsuit might be brought:

Intentional killing

If a person dies as a result of murder or manslaughter, a wrongful death suit may be brought against the culprit. The wrongful death lawsuit is a civil action and independent of any criminal cases brought against the person responsible. For example, a person might be found not guilty of murder or manslaughter yet still be found liable for a wrongful death claim.

Vehicle accident fatalities involving negligence or dangerous driving

A person who causes death due to negligent or dangerous driving may be liable for a wrongful death claim if it can be proven that they caused the accident through their negligence.

Workplace negligence

An employer may be the subject of a wrongful death lawsuit if an employee (or someone visiting the workplace) is killed due to negligence. For example, if dangerous machinery isn’t properly maintained and guarded, and someone dies as a result, the courts may deem this a wrongful death.

Medical malpractice

Death as a result of medical malpractice, may be grounds for a wrongful death claim. If a doctor misdiagnoses a condition due to negligence or fails to administer a reasonable level of appropriate care, a death resulting from this may be deemed wrongful.

How can you prove a wrongful death case?

For a wrongful death lawsuit to be successful, the plaintiffs (usually the victim’s surviving family or their estate) need to meet a particular burden of proof. The plaintiffs must show that the defendant had a duty of care and that death resulted from a breach of this duty.

Wrongful death damages

The categories of losses that a survivor might be compensated for include:

  • Loss of the victim’s expected income
  • Loss of the services that the victim would have provided if they’d survived
  • Any inheritance lost because of the death
  • Pain and suffering experienced by the deceased before death, also known as the survival claim
  • Medical bills incurred before death as a result of the injury
  • Loss of the deceased’s love and companionship
  • Loss of the deceased’s care, guidance, and nurturing
  • Loss of consortium
  • Funeral and burial costs

How to proceed

Wrongful death lawsuits are very complicated and can be difficult to resolve. It’s important to seek advice from an experienced wrongful death attorney to ensure that you receive the damages you’re entitled. If you think you have a claim for wrongful death, contact Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group for expert legal advice in the Vero Beach area.

What to Do If Denied Social Security Disability

If you find yourself unable to work due to disability, applying for SSDI (Social Security Disability Insurance) can be the lifeline you need. SSID is awarded based on an assessment of your need, factoring in things like your income, assets, and level of disability. This means that some claims are rejected.

The refusal of your claim is not the final word, however. It is possible to appeal a rejection, and many appeals are successful. Your claim can be reconsidered and may be successful if you keep trying. Because social security disability benefits can be so important for maintaining your quality of life, it’s well worth fighting for them. Read on to find out what steps you can take to challenge the decision and claim the benefits you need.

Ask for a reconsideration

Your first step might be to file for reconsideration. When you receive your decision from the Social Security Administration (SSA), you will usually get an explanation of why you were refused SSDI. If you think this reason is wrong for any reason, you are entitled to file for reconsideration. The SSA must then review your case in its entirety as if it was a new application. If you were correct, your claim may be reinstated. A disability attorney can help you with this.

Request a hearing with an administrative law judge

Even if the reconsideration doesn’t go your way, you still have plenty of options. You can appeal again, requesting a hearing with an administrative law judge (ALJ). These hearings take place locally. The ALJ will review your application and question you about your situation. The judge will also speak to any medical experts and attending witnesses involved in your case. You’re entitled to representation during this process. During hearings, you should consider having a disability attorney present to support you.

Submit fresh medical evidence

If your medical condition has changed during the SSDI application process or you were appealing, you must inform the SSA. You can submit this new evidence separately or in conjunction with a request for reconsideration.

Providing information on medical changes is a requirement and can also help your application. New medical information and evidence can bolster your case, giving the evaluator additional cause to award you SSDI.

Obtain testimonials from your doctor(s)

Doctors’ evaluations are weighted very heavily by the SSA. Should your initial social security disability application be denied, additional information can help when you appeal. If you haven’t already done so, ask your doctor to fill in an RFC (residual functional capacity) form. If your condition has worsened, you can ask your doctor to submit a revised RFC form. Your doctor can also submit additional information to support your case, detailing your condition, and explaining why you should receive benefits.

Contact a Social Security Disability Attorney

Whether you’re applying for the first time or appealing an unfavorable decision, enlisting an experienced social security disability attorney is always a wise move. Disability attorneys know exactly what an SSA evaluator is looking for in a claim and can ensure that your case is adjudicated fairly. Disability attorneys are very well versed in the appeals process and can make this daunting endeavor much less painful. Disability attorneys are required to advise you for free until you win your appeal and begin to receive benefits. This means that the attorney is highly motivated to do everything they can to ensure that your appeal is successful.

If you’re thinking about appealing your SSDI decision, it’s a good idea to seek professional legal advice as soon as possible. Graves Thomas Rotunda Injury Law Group’s experienced, compassionate disability attorneys can help you receive the SSI disability benefits you deserve.