When a loved one dies unexpectedly, those who are left behind can suffer with overwhelming grief, anger and a sense of loneliness. Under these circumstances, the last thing people are likely thinking about is money.

However, as much as people may not want to think about a loss in this context, there are significant damages people suffer in the wake of a death. And when that death is wrongful, those responsible for the loss can and should be held accountable. This accountability is one of a few main reasons why people file wrongful death claims


Wrongful death claims stem from negligent or reckless actions of others, which are typically preventable. Without filing a legal claim, people can feel like someone “got away” with bad behavior. However, holding that person accountable ensures that the party, his or her actions and the connection to the loss are all legally established and acknowledged.

Protecting others from harm

Holding parties accountable for their mistakes can protect others from suffering the same fate. Filing charges against a drunk driver, for instance, can stop that person from ever driving drunk again. Suing a company that made a defective product can set a precedent that sparks a recall or calls public attention to a problem before others can be hurt.

Compensation for damages

Yes, money is a priority in these claims. Understand, though, that the money awarded is not intended to replace a loved one or truly compensate people for their loss, as that is impossible. What money can do, however, is cover many types of damages, including funeral expenses and medical bills; it can address pain and suffering; it can serve as a way to further penalize a party who was especially negligent or dangerous.

Protecting your rights and your loved one’s legacy

With all this in mind, we encourage people to consider their legal options in the wake of a wrongful death. While it can seem uncomfortable or unnecessary, pursuing a legal claim can achieve a number of objectives, from securing financial damages to holding someone accountable for an untimely and devastating loss. For more information on these claims and your legal rights, it can be wise to consult a experienced wrongful death attorney.