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When is a wrongful death claim an option?

The accidental or sudden death of a loved one changes an entire family’s life. Wrongful death claims are a way to help surviving family members deal with their loss. 

Before commencing this civil action, you need to assess when a wrongful death claim is a viable option for your family. 

When the injury that caused death is the result of negligence

According to the Mississippi Code, wrongful death is “caused by any real, wrongful or negligent act or omission.” In effect, the statute allows you to bring a lawsuit when your loved one dies of a motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice, nursing home neglect, stabbing, punching or dangerous premises. 

A wrongful death is also death that results from product defects such as unsafe machinery or appliances and the consumption of defective medication or food. 

When surviving family members bring the action

The surviving spouse, siblings, parent, child or personal representative of the decedent may bring an action to recover damages. One or more of these individuals may bring the suit. 

The surviving spouse and children share any awarded damages equally if the surviving spouse brings the action. The surviving parents and siblings divide the damages if there are no spouses or children. 

When the claim is within the statute of limitations

Wrongful death claims are time barred in Mississippi by a statute of limitations. You must file suit no later than one year from the date of death of your loved one if the death resulted from an intentional act, such as assault or battery. If the death was a result of someone’s negligence, then you have a deadline of three years to file a claim. 

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