When someone is taken from us too soon by the negligent actions of another, we are not just angry. Our emotions range from disbelief to sadness, from fear to grief. Most overwhelmingly, we are in shock. How could someone have been so reckless? We wonder: Will we ever feel connected to life again?
Nothing can bring back the person we lost. But holding the responsible party/entity accountable can ease some of our pain.
Will my actions seem inappropriate?
Many people believe that seeking monetary compensation for our loss is wrong. Put simply, they think it is indelicate. How can we seek money? Our loved on is gone and no amount of funds is going to bring them back. How, can we think about cash at a time like this--how can gaining financially be the right thing to do?
It's important to remember that many times, there was a fiscal component to our relationship with the one who is gone: A spouse or a parent--even one who did not work outside the home--offers financial stability to our lives. Losing that income can be catastrophic.
But what happens when we lose a child or a grandparent--someone on whom we did not rely financially? Isn't seeking money unnecessary inn these situations?
Money is not just about money
Wrongful death lawsuits are not just about economics. In fact, frequently the person bringing the case has little interest in the exact amount of money they might receive. Wrongful death cases are about holding someone accountable and most importantly, ensuring that it does not happen again.
"I just want to make sure no one else ever goes through what I did," is the most common sentiment of people who initiate a wrongful death lawsuit. Unfortunately, the courts do not enable us to force behavior changes: Whether it was a poorly graded road that caused a car accident or someone's drunk driving--the courts only allow us to seek financial compensation. How can this help? Often, negligent people/entities are inspired to make changes when consequences affect their pocket book.
Financial recompense can also help grieving people mend: It provides resources for counseling that may help resolve grief, allows the bereaved to take time off from work while they cope with their new normal, and enables them to donate to causes and charities that might directly eliminate the circumstances that caused their loss.