The family of a young man who was struck and killed by a drunk driver has been awarded $11M from a Tennessee jury. The award included $5M in punitive damages. (Citation: Hudson v. Wilcox, No. 26601 (Tenn., Washington Co. Cir. Nov. 18, 2011).)
David Hudson, 27, a small business owner was crossing a street when he was hit by David Wilcox who was allegedly driving while intoxicated and without his headlights on when the pedestrian accident occurred.
Wrongful Death Claims
David Hudson’s estate which includes his parents and siblings filed a wrongful death claim after his death. A wrongful death claim can be filed on the behalf of a loved one who has been killed due to the wrongful or negligent act of another. Often times a wrongful death claim arises out of the negligent use of an automobile accident (i.e., a drunk driving accident, a hit and run accident, or a pedestrian accident) but they can also arise from on-the-job accidents, medical malpractice, school sports or even criminal actions such as murder or manslaughter.
Wrongful death claims can also in product liability law in which a person is killed by a defective or dangerous product.
Wrongful death statutes allow the family of the deceased to recover damages for a wrongful death. Damages might include burial costs, medical costs, future lost earnings and pain and suffering.
Punitive damages can be awarded by a judge (if a jury trial is not held) or by a jury. Punitive damages do provide compensation to the plaintiffs for their loss but they are damages intended to punish or deter the defendant or others from behaving in a similar fashion.
In the case of David Hudson, the jury was sending a message to drunken drivers that their actions are not to be tolerated.
Punitive damages are applied differently depending on the state. Many insurance companies have lobbied states which have enacted “caps” on punitive damages awards.
Washington Wrongful Death Claims
The Farber Law Group has more than 40 years experience assisting families who have had a loved one die an untimely death whether it was a child who was not supervised properly at school, a construction worker who fell from a poorly erected scaffold or the death of a pedestrian caused by a drunken driver.
Statute of Limitations
Immediate family members of someone who died due to the negligence of another may have a Washington wrongful death claim. Every state has a time limit — called a “statute of limitations” — on which a wrongful death lawsuit can be filed in court. You should seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney who is experienced with Washington’s wrongful death statute and who can evaluate your claim.
Please contact us at The Farber Law Group if you have questions about filing a wrongful death claim. Initial consultations are Free and we provide them without pressure or obligation.
This information is provided as a service by Washington Injury Attorney blog, a service of The Farber Law Group.