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Negligent death is a civil action which charges another with being liable for injury resulting in another's death by reason of negligent actions or a failure to act which could foreseeably result in death. The plaintiff (the executor or administrator of the estate of the decedent, family member, or spouse) must prove that the decedent would not have died but for the negligence of the defendant.
Damages which may be recovered are medical expenses, loss of wages and future earnings, loss of consortium, loss of support, and loss of companionship. A child might be entitled to compensation for the personal loss of a father as well as the amount of financial support the child would have received from the deceased parent while a minor, a wife would recover damages for loss of her husband's love and companionship and a lifetime of expected support, while a parent would be limited to damages for loss of companionship but not support.
Generally, funds recovered by a personal representative in a wrongful death action are intended for the exclusive benefit of the statutory beneficiaries and are not an asset of the decedent’s estate. Therefore, the award cannot be used to satisfy the decedent’s debts. For example, courts have held that a hospital lien does not attach the settlement of a wrongful death claim.
Some of the types of cases involving negligent deaths, among others, include: