When someone is killed through negligence on the part of another person, either through an intentional act, medical malpractice, or other forms, a wrongful death lawsuit is brought against the defendant. These types of lawsuits are pursued either on behalf of the estate or on behalf of the family of the deceased.
The criteria for a wrongful death lawsuit is the same as for a personal injury lawsuit, the main differences being that the family or estate pursues the case on behalf of the deceased and the damages awarded are significantly higher as there was a much greater loss to the victim. Just like a personal injury lawsuit, the plaintiff must demonstrate that the defendant owed, and was negligent of, a duty to the plaintiff that caused injury or accident resulting in injury, although in this case the injury is death.
Duties owed to other people are any action that a reasonable person would take to help other avoid injury. When a person knowing avoids taking action to fix a dangerous situation or intentionally causes a dangerous situation, they are acting with negligence.
An Atlanta wrongful death attorney can provide more information about this area of law.