Important rules about wrongful death claims in Hawaii

On Behalf of | Feb 14, 2023 | Personal Injury

Losing a loved one unexpectedly results in significant family hardship. Everyone has to adjust to their grief, which can take years to manage effectively. A family may also incur significant expenses paying for counseling and other grief support services.

There will be many other financial concerns to address as well, as the household will likely lose a significant revenue stream while simultaneously incurring medical and funeral expenses due to the loved one’s death. Everyone in the family may have a change in schedule and personal responsibilities as they try to manage the tasks once fulfilled by the loved one.

Hawaii state law extends the right to pursue wrongful death compensation in circumstances where misconduct, negligence or intentional harm cause someone’s death. Pursuing compensation in this way can help to ensure that families aren’t unfairly burdened by financial losses that should be taken of by the party that caused their loved one’s death.

Who can file a wrongful death claim?

In some states, the law requires that the executor of the deceased’s estate file a wrongful death lawsuit against the responsible party. Other states allow close family members the right to file a wrongful death claim.

Often, those who would benefit from intestate succession laws if someone died without a will are the family members with the right to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit. In Hawaii, both specific family members and the representative of the estate could potentially exercise the right to pursue a lawsuit, although typically only one wrongful death case will be filed, either way.

What losses can surviving loved ones recover?

Wrongful death claims often include a request for lost wages and lost inheritance, medical expenses, funeral costs and more. The surviving family members of the deceased can also seek noneconomic damages. These losses may include the loss of companionship and protection of the deceased, as well as loss of marital care, filial care, attention and parental care.

Families need to act quickly, as there is typically a two-year statute of limitations on filing wrongful death lawsuits. Learning about state law can help those who are in a position to pursue a wrongful death lawsuit as a result of how and why their loved one suffered fatal harm.