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Montana Wrongful Death Lawyer.

Wrongful Death Lawyer in Montana

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Wrongful Death Lawyer in Montana

When your loved one dies as a result of another party’s negligence, be it a drunk driver or a doctor’s careless mistake, you may be entitled to file a wrongful death claim in civil court and recover financial compensation for your losses.

What is a wrongful death claim?

MCA § 27-1-513 states that a wrongful death occurs “when injuries to and the death of one person are caused by the wrongful act or neglect of another.” The law provides that when someone dies as a result of a wrongful death, his or her surviving family members can pursue a claim against the wrongdoer (defendant).

A wrongful death claim is essentially a personal injury claim that the deceased victim could have pursued had he or she lived. When the victim dies, his/her loved ones can still hold the defendant accountable by intervening and pursuing the claim for their losses related to decedent’s death in civil court.

Below are a few types of accidents and situations that might lead to a wrongful death:

  • A reckless driver who was speeding and caused an auto accident.
  • A surgeon who operated on the wrong patient.
  • A manufacturer that made a defective airbag that exploded.
  • A construction contractor whose crew dropped heavy equipment on someone.
  • An airline that hired an incompetent pilot.
  • An armed robber who shot his victim.
  • An electric company that left exposed wires that electrocuted someone.

Who can file a wrongful death claim in Montana?

Montana law stipulates that only the personal representative of the estate can bring a wrongful death claim. This representative, assigned either as per the decedent’s will or by the court, files the claim on behalf of all legal beneficiaries, i.e., dependents. Survivors eligible to be party to a wrongful death claim typically include:

  • The spouse;
  • The children; and
  • The parents.

What types of damages can beneficiaries recover?

Montana statutes are non-specific when it comes to damages in a wrongful death claim. MCA § 27-1-323 only states that “damages may be given as under all the circumstances of the case may be just.” In most wrongful death claims, the personal representative seeks various damages such as:

  • Loss of consortium
  • Loss of comfort and society
  • The value of the financial contributions the deceased would have made to the survivors during the course of his or her lifetime, such as for support, education, and care
  • The infliction of emotional distress
  • Burial and funeral expenses
  • Grief, sorrow, and mental anguish related to the death

So long as the damages are reasonable, the courts will consider them. Note, there is no cap on damages in a wrongful death claim in Montana (unless the death resulted from medical malpractice), and punitive damages may apply in cases where the death involved fraud or malice, as well.

For help estimating the value of a wrongful death claim or to speak with an attorney who can help you file a claim, contact a Montana wrongful death attorney for a free consultation.

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