If your loved one has passed away in an accident, you are probably struggling to cope with the loss. It can be even more painful to know that the loss could have been avoided had someone acted more responsibly.
Filing a wrongful death claim against those responsible for your loved one’s accident can give you and your family the closure it needs after such a tragic event, while holding the responsible parties accountable for their actions.
How long do I have to file a wrongful death claim?
In Montana, you have three years from the date of your loved one’s death to file your wrongful death claim. However, there is an exception for those died because of a homicide. In such cases, the lawsuit must be filed within 10 years of the death.
Who can file a wrongful death claim?
Only certain family members of the deceased can file a wrongful death claim. Under Montana Code 27-1-513, the following parties may bring a claim:
- Spouse of the deceased
- Parent of the deceased
- Child of the deceased
- Sibling of the deceased
- Representative of the victim’s estate
Proving a wrongful death claim
The heart of most wrongful death cases is proving that another party’s negligence caused your loved one’s death. Negligence refers to a breach of duty of care.
For example, drivers owe a duty to other people on the road to operate their vehicles in a safe manner. If a driver runs a red light, this violation of a traffic law is considered a breach of that duty. If that driver’s actions cause an accident that results in the death of another motorist, that driver may be held legally liable for the death.
What damages can I recover?
If you file a wrongful death claim, you can recover economic and non-economic damages stemming from the loss of your loved one. These damages may cover:
- Funeral and burial costs
- Medical expenses
- Emotional distress
- Loss of earning capacity
- Loss of consortium/companionship
A personal injury attorney can help you file a wrongful death claim following the loss of your loved one. Your attorney can prepare your case and help you fight for the compensation you and your family deserve.