The death of a loved one in Honolulu can be a nightmare scenario for the people they leave behind. When that death is a result of the negligence or intentional actions of another person, family members may choose to bring a wrongful death suit against that person in an attempt to ensure that no one else has to experience the same thing.
Here is a description of how a wrongful death suit works, and one important consideration for people pursuing such a case in Hawaii.
As FindLaw explains, a wrongful death suit can only be brought when certain facts are true. First, the man or woman who died must have died because of the negligent or intentional actions of the person or company being sued. A wrongful death suit is a civil action, but it can be employed by surviving family members in the case of murder. Because wrongful death suits are civil cases, there is a lower standard of proof than in a criminal case. While in a criminal case, charges must be proved by a prosecutor beyond a reasonable doubt, in a civil case, a plaintiff need only prove their case by a preponderance of the evidence.
The next element for a wrongful death suit is that the survivors of the person who died must have suffered a monetary injury. While money cannot truly compensate for the loss of a loved one, in most cases, it is the only remedy that the court is legally able to provide. Finally, as a practical matter, the estate of the deceased person must also have someone appointed to represent it in court.
Every state has a wrongful death statute. Hawaii Revised Statue §663-3 applies in Honolulu wrongful death cases. This statute spells out who may sue and under what circumstances. One of the most important things to note about Hawaii's wrongful death statute is that there is a statute of limitations. Under Hawaii law, wrongful death cases must be brought within two years of the death date of the person whose death is the subject of the lawsuit.