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The Rights And Duties Of Heirs In A Wrongful Death Claim

Nothing is more devastating than a death of a loved one. It’s hard to cope with the death of someone close to you, especially in the event of untimely death due to someone else’s negligence.

Besides dealing with grief, the immediate family must also provide a decent send-off for their kin. The hospital and burial costs, together with coming to terms with the untimely death, can be too much for the immediate family to handle.

Wooden judge gavel and law books.

Wooden judge gavel and law books

Understanding Wrongful Death

Wrongful death occurs when a person’s death is due to the misconduct or negligence of another person or entity. Wrongful death can be caused by many things, including motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, manufacturing defects, or even criminal activity.

In such an event, wrongful death suits may be the best legal process that ensures that the immediate family receives justice, including financial support to cover the expenses incurred due to the untimely death of a family member.

After receiving the news of the death of a loved one, it’s common for people close to the deceased to be grief-stricken and confused. Most people don’t know what to do next. At this point, understanding wrongful death claims can help guide your next course of action. This article discusses the rights and duties of heirs in a wrongful death claim.

1. Pursuing Legal Action

The death of a loved one can be overwhelming, but as heirs, it may be necessary to pursue legal action. If you decide to pursue legal action, your next step should be consulting a wrongful death attorney to understand the process. In New York, however, only the representative of the decedent (the person who died) can file a wrongful death lawsuit.

The lawyer can determine liability for the death of your loved one, gather evidence, build a case, and represent you in negotiating for any compensation you deserve. The lawyer can also get permission from the decedent’s representative, which can also be a family member of the deceased, to start legal proceedings.

While financial compensation can’t bring back your loved one, it may be the only option to ensure your financial security, especially if the deceased was the family breadwinner.

2. Bringing The Family Together

Once you’ve received news of your loved one’s demise, ensure that you have your family or friends to support you. Surround yourself with people who care about you. In the event of untimely death, most people tend to get depressed and can easily isolate.

Falling apart can only worsen the matter since you have to deal with the untimely demise of your loved one. Attend to members of your family with severe emotional challenges. To avoid any psychological or emotional damage following the death of your loved one, stick together as a family. It will ensure that you help each other cope.

3. Cooperating With Your Lawyer To Gather Evidence

While tasks like gathering evidence in times of grief can be tough, it’s also important to increase your chances of obtaining justice for the deceased. This can happen by cooperating with your lawyer in obtaining more evidence. Remember that the defendant will also protect themselves before the court, and a weak case might reduce the chances of getting suitable compensation.

4. Planning The Funeral

The heirs to the deceased have both the right and duty to arrange and plan a funeral for their loved one. They can decide when and how they will send off their kin. Whether by cremation or burial, heirs to the deceased have the right to decide what happens to the body of their family member.

5. Receive The Inheritance

Legally, heirs are the next of kin who will automatically inherit the estate of the deceased. In most cases, heirs are the deceased’s immediate family, for example, children or spouse. When a loved one dies due to wrongful death, the heirs are entitled to the lawsuit proceeds. However, heirs need to understand their rights to the estate of their loved one to ensure their interests are protected.

Conclusion

Heirs have the right to inherit the loved one’s estate in the event of wrongful death. They are also entitled to seek justice for the deceased. However, seeking justice while grieving can be overwhelming. It’s advisable to seek legal advice from a wrongful death attorney to know the way forward. If you aren’t aware of your rights and duties as heirs, the attorney will help you understand them to protect your rights and interests as heirs.