A wrongful death is unlike any other accident that you see in the workplace – instead of your loved one coming home and receiving medical treatment or rehabilitation, a fatality occurs on the job. For some families, this can completely uproot their lives. Husbands and fathers, wives and mothers are lost because of someone’s negligent actions in the workplace. Because of this, a surviving member is urged to file for something known as a “wrongful death” suit. For this, negligence has to be established beyond a reasonable doubt. Did an employer or another coworker cause the injury that led to the employee’s wrongful death? Many questions must be asked at this time, some of which are more difficult than others.

You may have a very important question regarding a wrongful death suit: Who is permitted to file? Can you get the lawsuit started on your own? The fact is, the personal representative of the decedent’s estate is the only person who can bring on a suit for wrongful death. The decedent is also able to bring on actions for personal injuries, conscious pain and suffering, or expenses caused prior to the death. However, just because you file for damages does not mean that you will be the sole heir to all compensation. The damage awards will instead be passed to different parties as directed by the will.

Elements of a Suit

To be able to recover, you must first meet the particular elements of a wrongful death lawsuit. To be successful you there must have been a death of another person, the accident must have been caused by negligence, family members must be suffering financially, and there must be an appointment of a personal representative for the estate. Many of the reasons why these lawsuits are brought every year stem from medical malpractice resulting in death, an automobile accident, occupational exposure to hazardous conditions, criminal behavior in action, or death during a supervised activity.


The damages may depend on many factors. For instance, you may expect to receive something known as “pecuniary loss,” which is when a family struggles financially after a wrongful death. Many determining factors will take place, such as the decedent’s age, character, and condition of their health before they died. Loss of income and loss of parental guidance are extremely important to the courts, who will take these factors into consideration when coming up with the best award.

Every system is different. For instance, for federal employees, the widow’s compensation ends up being 50% of the employee’s pay at the time of death if the death was employment-related. This percentage changes, however, if there are children or if children are the only sole survivors. Since so many factors are involved in these complex cases, and every award is different, you should always talk to an experienced attorney for more information about where to turn. Call us today so we can help you with your case after you have lost a loved one due to a workplace accident.