Salerno & Leavitt
Understanding Wrongful Death Claims in Nebraska
The death of a loved one can affect a family in many ways, including financially. If their loss was the result of somebody’s negligent behavior, you could be entitled to compensation. A wrongful death claim can relieve your financial burden and hold the negligent party responsible.
What Defines a Wrongful Death?
For a wrongful death claim to be successful, three factors need to be proven in court. First, the deceased lost their life through someone else’s negligence or intent. Second, the responsible party owed the victim safety. For example, drivers have a duty to drive safely. If a crash occurs, resulting in the death of another person, they’ve failed in that responsibility and are liable for the loss of life. Finally, there’s causation. Attorneys must prove that the negligence and the breached responsibility caused the victim’s death.
Wrongful death claims are tried in civil court. In civil cases, the liable party is held financially responsible instead of serving prison time. However, the responsible party can still face criminal charges alongside a wrongful death claim. A wrongful death attorney can explain how civil and criminal claims affect each other.
Who Can File?
Wrongful death claims must be filed by a legal representative of the deceased’s estate. If damages are recovered, the money is used to benefit the surviving family. In Nebraska, you have up to two years to file a wrongful death claim against the responsible party.
What Damages Can You Seek?
The amount of damages recovered in wrongful death claims vary by case and state law. The court considers the age, earnings (and future earning potential) of the victim. They also consider what the deceased’s life expectancy was, along with their health. The court also accounts for the current condition of the surviving family.
Damages cover funeral expenses and the lost compensation the deceased would’ve provided. If they were unemployed, the court might consider their previous salary as a basis. Damages will also cover any medical bills related to the victim’s death.
Nebraska awards damages for the pain and suffering felt by the victim in their final moments. The family’s resulting pain and suffering aren’t included. However, Nebraska does account for the loss that they experience. “Loss of care” damages include the companionship and guidance the deceased provided. Loss of care also accounts for the changes to the household, including lost services like childcare and home repairs.
If another’s negligence has taken the life of someone you love, a wrongful death claim can hold the responsible party accountable. For over 30 years, we’ve represented families who need the closure that justice can provide. To make an appointment, reach out to us by phone.