Wrongful death is a legal term for a situation when someone has been killed by the wrongful act of another. Usually, we’re talking about negligence here. When a family calls us regarding a wrongful death case, we ask the family to come in so we can discuss the life of the decedent before the death and what the impact is on the family. We want to get all of the facts about what led up to that death, we want to find the evidence we can, and we want to find witnesses who can talk about it. Once we feel we understand the case, then we can go forward with the claim, maybe against the insurance company, maybe against the federal government or the state government – those are all possibilities we want to look at. We go forward with the case and we determine who has the right to make the claim. In these types of cases, the estate of the decedent has a claim independent of the survivors. Survivors also have a claim. In Hawaii, the survivors are the spouse, the parent, the child. Those are the survivors that have the right to bring a claim for the wrongful death of another person.
Hawaii is, I’m not sure if we’re unique, but we’re one of the few states in which a claim can be made for the loss of the love and affection of someone who has died. Because of this law that permits survivors to make this type of claim, we need to know intimate details of the family relationships between the family member and the decedent.
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