Tragedy can strike anytime, as was underscored when a 26-year-old man was
shot in NE Portland in June. The man was with friends when he was shot,
and was still breathing when 911 was called. Taken to a nearby hospital,
he died shortly thereafter. Although the shooting was deemed accidental,
another man was charged with criminal negligent homicide, and police removed
several guns from the house.
In addition to the criminal charge, the event could possibly result in
a wrongful death lawsuit. This type of lawsuit is generally filed by family
members whose loved ones have died unexpectedly because of someone’s
carelessness. Wrongful death suits can typically arise from motor vehicle
accidents, driving under the influence cases, medical malpractice, construction
accidents, airplane accidents, assaults, and defective products.
Under a wrongful death claim, family members of the deceased seek damages
to pay funeral and burial costs, as well as medical and other bills. Oftentimes,
they also seek compensation for
- their pain and suffering
- loss of consortium (loss of companionship)
- loss of future earnings anticipated over the deceased’s lifetime
- loss of victim’s benefits (insurance, 401k)
- Other out-of-pocket expenses
Wrongful death lawyers can help a family sort out the issues and determine
if a case is appropriate for a wrongful death suit.
How much a family receives in such a case depends on many factors, including:
- age of victim
- health of victim
- age and health of the heirs
- life expectancy of the victim
- life expectancy of the heirs
- financial loss of victim and heirs
- amount of insurance coverage
- negligent party’s assets
In most cases, wrongful death lawyers do not charge clients any fees unless
they win the damages.