An untimely death is always a tragedy. Anyone who loses a loved one while they are still young and healthy typically experiences intense grief. Oftentimes, everything about an individual’s life could shift suddenly when they lose a spouse, parent, child or other close loved one.
The law in Hawaii permits those affected by someone’s passing to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit in certain circumstances. Situations that lead to someone’s death may be eligible for certain types of insurance coverage, including liability coverage carried by the party at fault and life insurance carried by the deceased.
Why do people sometimes pursue wrongful death lawsuits after a loved one’s preventable death?
The death meets very specific criteria
Wrongful death lawsuits are usually only possible if a person or business caused someone’s death through wrongful acts, negligence, or defaults. Breaking the law, doing something obviously unsafe or failing to do something necessary could all be grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit in accordance with Hawaii statutes.
The family has incurred significant losses
While there may be insurance that applies after a tragedy, insurance coverage is often far from comprehensive. For example, the minimum car insurance requirements in Hawaii are low enough that a policy might not cover all of someone’s medical care costs, let alone their lost future wages. When families realize that someone’s passing will result in massive financial challenges, they may have reason to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit to recoup those losses.
The family needs closure
Occasionally, an untimely death could lead to criminal prosecution. Drunk driving crashes are a perfect example. The state can bring charges against an impaired motorist who caused a fatal crash. Sadly, not every wrongful death meets the necessary standards for criminal prosecution. Families may want to see the court hold someone accountable for the tragedy they caused. The standard for evidence is lower in the civil courts, meaning that people can obtain justice through litigation that they could not through criminal prosecution. Additionally, the financial compensation awarded to the family can serve as a form of punishment for the person or business responsible for someone’s premature death.
Pursuing a wrongful death lawsuit is a reasonable and appropriate response to a tragedy caused by the bad behavior or negligence of another party.