There is nothing more devastating than unexpectedly losing a spouse, child, parent, or sibling. The emotional trauma can be shattering, while the financial strain – especially if the deceased family member was the primary income earner – can feel completely overwhelming.
If your loved one was killed because of another’s careless or reckless conduct, you may be entitled to compensation. No matter whether your family member died from injuries sustained in a workplace accident, motor vehicle crash, slip and fall, or resulting from an animal bite, defective product, or intentional act, a personal injury attorney could offer counsel on how best to proceed with a claim for monetary damages.
While no sum of money can bring a loved one back, it can mitigate the hardship by eliminating the financial burden caused by unexpected medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of wages. Contacting a Jackson County wrongful death lawyer as soon as you are able could be critical to your family’s well being.
Wrongful death claims are brought by a qualified surviving family member – a spouse, child, parent, or sibling – and are essentially the personal injury claims that the deceased person could have brought if still alive.
Under Mississippi Code § 11-7-13, a wrongful death action may be brought where death was caused by:
Every state imposes time limits, called statutes of limitation, restricting the amount of time plaintiffs have to file different types of civil actions. Lawsuits filed outside the prescribed time frame will almost always be dismissed for good – and so reaching out to a Jackson County attorney skilled in wrongful death law as soon as possible could mean the difference between recovering compensation or not.
For most wrongful death matters where the deceased was killed as a result of another’s careless or reckless act, Mississippi permits qualified surviving family members three years to file a lawsuit. But in cases where the death resulted from an intentional act such as a beating, shooting, or stabbing, the surviving family members have just one year to initiate legal action.
Defendants deemed liable for a deceased’s wrongful death will have to pay successful plaintiffs compensatory damages. These include economic expenses, such as medical costs for care provided before death, funeral expenses, and lost wages. Recovery of these damages is unlimited.
Compensatory damages also cover less easily quantifiable losses, such as future earnings, pain and suffering, and loss of guidance and companionship. These non-economic damages for medical malpractice and product liability cases are capped, respectively, at $500,000 and $1,000,000.
Mississippi law permits reduced recovery where the deceased was partly at fault and also provides a framework for prioritized distribution of compensation among surviving family members. A Jackson County wrongful death lawyer could explain the intricacies of these potential limitations on recovery on a case-by-case basis.
In the wake of a loved one’s death, consulting with an attorney may be the farthest thing from your mind – but it could also be one of the most important steps you take to protect you and your family. While you grieve and focus on rebuilding your life, an attorney could take the reins and investigate the cause of death, identify potential defendants, interview witnesses, and build a solid case on your behalf to pursue compensation.
In some cases, an insurance demand may be sufficient, and in others, litigation may prove necessary. Either way, a Jackson County wrongful death lawyer could be your best ally moving forward.