When you lose a loved one in an accident, the emotional pain is often intense and for many, it can last a lifetime. But when that loved one’s death is caused by the negligence of another party, it can make the situation even worse. The death did not have to happen. If that individual or organization had been more careful, it probably would not have happened.
A wrongful death case in Utah is designed to hold the responsible party accountable – and to get the surviving loved ones the compensation they deserve. Money is never going to replace what you lost, but it can help you and your family recover as best you can. It can also help supplement the financial support you may have lost with your loved one’s death.
How Does Utah Define Wrongful Death?
According to Utah Code section 78B-3-106, the “wrongful act, neglect, or default” of the party responsible for the accident defines a wrongful death. The criteria for this type of case are similar to other personal injury cases. But with other personal injury cases, the injured party can file the lawsuit. With a wrongful death case, the injured party is the one who died – which means the lawsuit must be filed by the surviving loved ones.
Who Can File this Type of Lawsuit?
The law in Utah is specific about who can file a wrongful death case. Only heirs of the deceased can file this type of lawsuit. Multiple parties can fall under the category of heir, though, depending on the circumstances. These may include:
- The husband or wife
- The adult children
- The parents, including adoptive parents
- The stepchildren (must be younger than 18 and depending on the deceased party)
- Other blood relatives as listed in Utah inheritance laws
If the deceased had an estate plan in place, the estate can select a representative to file the lawsuit.
What Are the Time Limits on a Wrongful Death?
You have a limited amount of time to file a wrongful death case in most circumstances. For most wrongful death claims, you must file within two years of the death of the deceased. However, if you are filing a claim against a government agency, you must file within one year of the death.
What Types of Damages Are Included in a Wrongful Death Claim
Possible damages may include:
- Medical bills for the deceased party
- Funeral arrangements
- Pain and suffering for the survivors
- Punitive damages
- Lost income, including future wages of the deceased
- Loss related to the relationship, such as guidance and companionship
Did Negligence Cause Your Loved One’s Death?
If an individual or organization was negligent and it caused your loved one’s death, we encourage you to speak to our attorney. Once we hear your story, we can help you determine if you should file a wrongful death case. Please call us at (801) 845-4577 or fill out our online contact form now.