Recently, Dartmouth College settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the parents of a student who was killed while skiing to fulfill a course requirement. In another instance, a New Hampshire widow won a wrongful death a suit when her husband fell overboard on a commercial boat that was hosting a Halloween party and drowned.
Definition and Examples of Wrongful Death
Legally, a wrongful death is when someone's negligence, or other unjust action, causes the death of another person.
In the skiing accident, the College allegedly shunned their responsibility by leaving the student, a beginning skier, unsupervised on a difficult trail.
In the boating accident, the wife's wrongful-death attorney proved boat personnel continued serving her husband alcohol even though he was clearly intoxicated.
Other examples of wrongful death can include car and airplane accidents, medical malpractice, an act of violence or murder, defective products, and work-related deaths due to dangerous working conditions or exposure to toxic substances.
Who Can File a Claim or Lawsuit in a Wrongful Death Case?
New Hampshire law states that only a family member can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This is because family members are usually the ones most affected by the death of the victim, emotionally and financially.
In New Hampshire, damages can be awarded on the basis of medical and funeral expenses, loss of companionship, loss of support and services, and loss of potential inheritance.
What You Need to Know Before Filing
Before filing a wrongful death claim or lawsuit, certain criteria must be met:
- There has to be a third party who was fully or partially responsible for the death.
- The third party must be shown to have been negligent.
- There must be surviving family members as beneficiaries, e.g. parents, spouses, children, or other dependents.
- Typically, proof of monetary damages are required, e.g., loss of income, because of the victim's death.
The death of a family member is always tragic. It is one of the reasons why an experienced wrongful death attorney should be consulted. They can take care of your wrongful death lawsuit or claim without your active involvement.
If you think a family member suffered a wrongful death, please call an attorney to assist you in your difficult time.