Losing a loved one is one of the hardest things anyone can go through. The situation can be made even worse when the loss is unexpected and the result of someone else’s negligent actions or inactions. If you’ve lost a loved one because of the carelessness of another party, our Jackson wrongful death lawyers are here for you.
We understand that it can be difficult to consider taking legal action after wrongfully losing a loved one. While filing a claim cannot change what happened, it can ease the financial burdens associated with the loss and potentially hold the negligent person or entity responsible for their actions. To proceed, you may benefit from having some information on how Mississippi handles instances of wrongful death and how hiring an attorney can benefit you.
How Does Mississippi Define Wrongful Death?
Mississippi Code Section 11-7-13 defines wrongful death and outlines how the legal process is handled. According to the law, a wrongful death occurs if the fatality results from the following:
- Any negligent, real, or wrongful act
- Any negligent, real or wrongful omission
- Unsafe machinery or appliances
- The breach of a product’s warrant
The most common accidents resulting in wrongful death include:
- Auto Accidents. Reckless drivers, who could be texting or intoxicated behind the wheel, can quickly cause an accident that can have detrimental consequences. Large trucks and motorcycles also see their fair share of accidents. Victims in accidents with tractor-trailers are at risk because of the size of the truck. Motorcyclists don’t have the protection an enclosed vehicle offers.
- Defective Products. Manufacturers have a responsibility to ensure their products do not bring harm to consumers. Unfortunately, there are instances, like with defective auto parts, where fatalities result.
- Dangerous Premises. Property owners are supposed to ensure their home or store is free of hazardous conditions. Preventable dangers can lead to a wrongful death.
- Nursing Home Abuse. Not all nursing homes provide the same level of care to their residents. Unfortunately, some facilities even abuse their residents. The abuse can become severe and have catastrophic consequences.
- Medical Malpractice. Doctors and other medical professionals are obligated to provide a certain standard of care to their patients. When that doesn’t happen, like during a surgery or while prescribing medications, and a death occurs, the responsible party can be held accountable.
If you’ve lost someone in a situation we have not discussed, you may still have the grounds to file a wrongful death claim. Our attorneys will be able to review your case and determine how to help you proceed.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death in Mississippi?
Under Mississippi law, there are a number of parties who can file a wrongful death claim:
- Descendants of children
- Unborn children
In July 2018, it was determined by Mississippi legislature that an unborn fetus, or “quick child,” is eligible for compensation in the event the mother dies in a preventable accident. A “quick child” is the legal term for a fetus that has developed to the point where it can move inside the womb, which means that the baby could survive the trauma of labor and delivery with medical intervention in the event the mother is in a fatal accident. Parents can take legal action for the death of an unborn baby, as well.
The deceased’s estate’s personal representative can also file the lawsuit. Regardless of who files, all interested parties can join once legal proceedings have started. A lawyer’s legal guidance is crucial at this point to make sure everything is done correctly.
What Damages Are Recoverable After a Wrongful Death?
We understand that no amount of money can replace your loved one; however, full and fair compensation can aid with the expenses associated with the loss. With this type of lawsuit, recoverable damages are separated by the estate and the surviving family members.
The estate can receive financial compensation for the following:
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Property damage incurred during the accident
- Medical bills for the deceased’s treatments related to the fatal event
The surviving family members may able to recover compensation for economic and noneconomic losses, including:
- Pain and suffering caused by the loss
- The value of lost wages and benefits the deceased would have been expected to earn
- Loss of guidance and companionship
While there are no caps on economic losses, there are caps placed on certain noneconomic damages depending on the circumstances of the death. We can help you determine if there are any caps involved in your case.
It can be difficult to estimate the sum of damages in these kinds of cases. Our wrongful death lawyers in Jackson will help you assess the total by looking into your loved one’s education, income, and work experience.
How Does the Statute of Limitations Affect a Wrongful Death Claim?
Statutes of limitations laws establish the maximum time after an accident or event that legal action can be taken. The statutes vary depending on the type of case. According to Mississippi Code Section 15-1-49, all wrongful death claims must be filed within three years of the official date of death. This time frame can vary depending on the circumstances of the fatality, which is why it’s a good idea to hire a knowledgeable lawyer.
It’s important to remember that cases that are not brought to court before the statute of limitations is up are likely to be dismissed without review.
How Can an Attorney from Pittman, Roberts & Welsh Help?
At Pittman, Roberts & Welsh, we have more than 150 years of combined experience that we can use to help you in the event you’ve wrongfully lost a family member. We strive to provide our clients with the legal representation and aid needed to win even the most difficult cases. If you’re ready to take action, contact our Jackson wrongful death lawyers to schedule a free initial consultation.