Wrongful death lawyers
The ultimate loss is the loss of life. Obviously, a person can’t sue for their loss caused by wrongful death, but their family may be able to. If you are the member of a family that have suffered a loss of a loved one, then please contact us without obligation, as we are No Win No Fee wrongful death lawyers.
We accept instructions in wrongful death cases. This may involve:
- motor accidents
- work accidents
- medical or dental malpractice
- public liability
These claims are brought against a defendant who has caused someone’s death through negligence. Wrongful death claims allow the estate and/or those close to a deceased person to file a lawsuit against the party who is legally liable for the death.
When can I make a Wrongful Death Claim?
If the deceased person had not passed away and would have been able to make a personal injury claim against the defendant, then there is likely a claim for wrongful death to be made by the deceased’s family and extended family. This can occur in a variety of situations, including:
Medical or dental malpractice
When a victim dies as a result of dental or medical malpractice. Perhaps a doctor fails to make a correct diagnosis, or if a surgeon is careless in the level of care or expertise that they provide. If a patient dies as a result, then a wrongful death lawsuit might be possible against the doctor, hospital or other medical professionals involved in the case.
Motor vehicle accidents
You may sue for wrongful death in the case of car accident fatalities involving negligence.
Work related deaths
A wrongful death claim can stem from almost any kind of personal injury situation including death caused by a work injury.
What Must Be Proven?
In order to hold the defendant liable in a wrongful death claim, the plaintiffs (the estate of the deceased) must meet the same burden of proof that the deceased would have had to meet had the person lived.
So, using negligence as an example, this means showing that:
- the defendant owed the victim a duty of care,
- that the defendant failed to discharge this duty,
- that the breach of duty caused the death,
- and that the death caused the damages that are being pursued
As in all civil law suits, establishing liability and damages are the two key components.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
A spouse may sue for wrongful death due to a deceased spouse. Children may claim for wrongful death. Parents of young children (minors) may also bring a wrongful death action if one of their children is killed, and minors can collect compensation over the death of a parent. In Australia, the term spouse includes de facto partners.
Exactly who is eligible to sue for wrongful death can get cloudy as the distance of the relationship increases, or the actual dependence of the person on the deceased changes. Contact us for any clarification.
Wrongful Death Damages
Damages in a wrongful death claim—categories of losses for which a survivor might be able to receive compensation—include:
- the deceased person’s pre-death “pain and suffering”.
- the medical treatment costs that the deceased victim incurred as a result of the injury prior to death
- funeral and burial costs
- loss of the deceased person’s expected income
- loss of services, care, guidance, and nurturing that the deceased would have provided
- loss of love and companionship
Is criminal action something I can sue about?
Many people ask us if the crimes of murder or manslaughter can lead to a civil suit. Though a long way from Brisbane, or any part of Queensland for that matter, in California, the families of Nicole Brown and Ronald Goldman sued former NFL star and actor O.J. Simpson for their wrongful deaths in 1994. In this matter, Simpson was found not guilty of murder in criminal court, but was found culpable in the civil claim. The standard of proof is different in a civil case (the balance of probabilities) versus a criminal trial, where guilt must be established beyond a reasonable doubt.
This option is not available to people in Australia. The best that can be done is to make a claim through various statutory victims’ crime compensation schemes.
Time limits apply for wrongful death claims
Time limits apply ! If you think you have a claim for wrongful death, then please contact us to discuss the matter.
Note that for complex Medical Law wrongful death claims, due to the amount of initial investigation needed, you may have to contribute to the upfront cost of the case, even for No Win – No Fee. We’ll assess and discuss with you any likely additional costs that you have to pay before you agree to work with our wrongful death solicitors.
We are available for home visits in Brisbane, Ipswich, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and out to Toowoomba. We practice in QLD, NT and northern NSW.