Coping with the tragic death of a loved one leaves friends and family members feeling shock, anger and intense grief. This type of sudden loss is overwhelming, especially if your family is also faced with a loss of income as a result. A surviving spouse, adult children, parents or personal representative of a victim who died or was killed as a result of the misconduct or negligence of another can file a lawsuit for wrongful death in the state of Utah. If you are unsure if you have a wrongful death case, it is important to contact an experienced wrongful death lawyer in Utah without delay.
We understand that nothing can compensate for the devastating loss of your loved one. Our caring and experienced Catastrophic Accident Lawyers in Utah have the experience and resources to help your family seek justice by holding those responsible for your loss accountable and win the maximum compensation possible to help you rebuild your life. Contact Wasatch Defense Attorneys for your free, no-obligation case review at 801-845-3509.
What is the Legal Definition of Wrongful Death?
The definition of wrongful death under Utah Code section 78B-3-106 is defined as the death of an individual that is caused by the neglect or wrongful act of another. Legal action may be taken by the victim’s heirs or personal representatives for damages against the party or parties responsible. If the responsible person is employed by another person who was responsible for his or her conduct, then they can also be held liable.
Wrongful Death Claims in Utah
In order to find a person liable for a wrongful death, it must be established that they had a duty of care to the deceased individual. Injuries or death as a result of refusing or failing to act with reasonable care is a breach of his or her duty of care. Here are the most common types of accidents that may result in a wrongful death claim:
- DUI Accident
- Distracted Driving Accident
- Motorcycle Accident
- Workplace Accident
- Neglect or Abuse
- Defective Products
- Random Acts of Violent
- Law Enforcement Brutality
Who can File a Wrongful Death Claim in the State of Utah?
In accordance with Utah Code section 78B-3-106.5, a wrongful death claim can be brought to court on behalf of the deceased individual by his or her heirs or a personal representative of the deceased individual’s estate. The heirs who may file a claim include:
- The Surviving Spouse
- Financial Dependents Under the Age of 18
- Adult Children
- Parents or Adoptive Parents
- Blood Relatives (as listed in Utah’s Inheritance Laws)
- Named Personal Representative
Utah law presumes that one of the above-listed heirs will become the ‘presumptive personal representative‘. This position entails acting as the deceased individual’s personal representative. However, if the deceased created an estate plan naming a personal representative, he or she may also file a claim.
Wrongful Death Statute of Limitations in Utah
A wrongful death claim filed in civil court by the deceased individual’s personal representative directly, even if there is already an open criminal case in connection with the death. The state of Utah’s statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death claim is within two years from the date of the victim’s death. The statute of limitations for claims against a government entity is within one year from the victim’s death.
Compensation for Wrongful Death
A successful wrongful death case in Utah will award the recovery of damages intended to compensate the deceased individual’s heirs and estate for both economic and non-economic losses related to the loss of their loved one. In the state of Utah, damages may include:
- Pain and Suffering
- The Value of Lost Future Wages and Benefits
- Funeral Expenses
- Final Medical Expenses
- Loss of Care
- Loss of Companionship and Guidance
- Punitive Damages
An award of punitive damages is awarded by the court as a punishment for the negligence or misconduct of the defendant(s).