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What to Expect in a Wrongful Death Lawsuit

When a loved one dies, the world feels upside down. The last thing you want is a complicated legal process to worry about. That’s why we’re here to help!  Wrongful death compensation can never make up for the fact that your loved one is gone. But if your loved one died because of someone else’s purposeful actions or negligence, you have the legal right to pursue compensation.

Definition of Wrongful Death

Mississippi Code section 11-7-13  defines a “wrongful death” as a death that is caused by:

  • “any real, wrongful or negligent act or omission”
  • “unsafe machinery, way or appliances,” or
  • “the breach of any warranty” of fitness of any item intended for human consumption.

Wrongful death cases can be complicated, but that’s why we’re here. We help take the load of pursuing justice off your shoulder so that you can focus on taking care of yourself and honoring your loved one’s legacy.

Here’s a step-by-step guide of what to expect when you file a wrongful death claim in Jackson, Mississippi. And of course, we’re available to support you each step of the way!

Understand the statute of limitations.  In Mississippi, the wrongful death claim must be filed within one year of the date of death if the death was caused by an intentional act, such as assault or battery. If the death was caused by negligence, the wrongful death claim must be filed within three years of the date of death, according to Nolo.

Determine if you are eligible to file. In Mississippi, the following parties may bring a wrongful death claim to court:

  • the personal representative of the deceased person’s estate
  • the surviving spouse of the deceased person
  • the surviving parent or child of the deceased person, and
  • any surviving siblings of the deceased person.

According to Nolo, when the surviving spouse of a deceased person brings a wrongful death claim to court, any damages are split equally between the surviving spouse and the children. If there is no surviving spouse or children, a surviving parent or sibling of the deceased person may bring the claim to court. In this case, any damages awarded are divided between the surviving parents and children.

Call an experienced wrongful death attorney. Wrongful death cases are complex. Too often, victims walk away from their case with a settlement far lower than the law entitles them to. An attorney can help you understand what amount of compensation is fair and how to claim it.

Assemble evidence and begin investigations. As the plaintiff in a wrongful death case, you’ll need to prove the following:

Duty of Care – You must prove to the court that the defendant owed a duty of care to your loved one. For example, in the case of a car accident, you must prove that the defendant had an obligation to obey the Rules of the Road and drive carefully while operating any vehicle

Breach of Duty of Care – You must prove that the defendant breached the duty of care owed to your loved one. Again, if the situation involves a car accident, you must show that the defendant failed to obey the applicable traffic laws, such as by speeding or by running a red light.

Causation – You must show that the defendant’s particular action directly caused the wrongful death. So, even if the defendant ran a red light while driving a car, the defendant is not responsible if the death was caused by something else, such as a mechanical failure on the deceased’s vehicle, according to Nolo.

Determine the value of your case. In Mississippi, damages that can be awarded in a wrongful death case include:

  • medical expenses related to the final illness or injury
  • funeral and burial expenses
  • payments for damaged or destroyed property.
  • pain and suffering incurred as a result of your loved one’s untimely death
  • loss of society and companionship of the deceased
  • net cash value of the lost wages and benefits the deceased would likely have earned if he or she had lived, reduced to present value.

 Your case is drafted and filed.

 Discovery and deposition stage.

Both sides of the case will exchange facts and other details about your claim, “discovering” the other party’s evidence. During discovery, attorneys will conduct a process called the deposition. Depositions are the statements from witnesses prior to a trial.

Trial. Sometimes a case is settled before going to trial. But if both sides can’t agree, then a trial is scheduled before a judge or jury to decide the outcome.

Do you need to file a wrongful death case in Jackson, MS? Don’t go through this alone. Contact us online or at 601-914-1025.


Heilman Law Group, PA

4266 I-55 North, Suite 106

Jackson, Mississippi 39211

Phone: 601-914-1025

Fax: 601-960-4200

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  • Jackson Office
    4266 I-55 North
    Suite 106
    Jackson, Mississippi 39211
    Phone: 601-914-1025
    Fax: 601-944-2915
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