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Wrongful Death

We are sorry if the death of a loved one has brought you to this page.

We developed this web page to assist those who face the life-altering emotional and financial consequences of losing a loved one because of another’s negligence or misconduct. Although we remain sensitive to our client’s emotional needs during this difficult time, our priority is taking care of their future finan­cial requirements.

If you feel that your loved one has died because of someone else’s neg­li­gent, reck­less or care­less behavior, con­tact us as soon as pos­sible. Prompt inves­ti­ga­tion of your case is crit­ical.

Our attor­neys are familiar with the phys­ical, emo­tional and finan­cial damage that wrongful death can cause. We are a team of legal pro­fes­sionals that has pro­vided skilled, aggres­sive and eth­ical legal ser­vices to res­i­dents of South Dakota for more than 25 years.

Wrongful Death and Dam­ages

In legal terms, wrongful death refers to a death that occurred because of the neg­li­gence or mis­deeds of another person, cor­po­ra­tion or other entity. A wrongful death action seeks to hold an indi­vidual, group or cor­po­ra­tion account­able for causing the death of another person. The pri­mary goal of a wrongful death action is to pro­vide relief to the deceased loved ones and to deter the wrongdoer from inflicting fur­ther harm on others. In a wrongful death action, con­sid­er­a­tion is given to the earn­ings the deceased would have pro­vided to their family had they lived, and dam­ages are awarded to sur­vivors based on this mon­e­tary loss.

State laws vary as to who may pursue a wrongful death claim. Gen­er­ally, it is the imme­diate family mem­bers (spouses, chil­dren and par­ents); how­ever, some states allow grand­par­ents, legal depen­dents or mem­bers of the extended family to file suit.

The amount of dam­ages awarded will depend on the plaintiff’s rela­tion­ship to the deceased, while the com­pen­sa­tion for dam­ages may include com­pen­sa­tion for the following:

  • Reim­burse­ment for all med­ical expenses incurred as a result of the negligence.
  • Reim­burse­ment for the loss of any future income.
  • Reim­burse­ment for prop­erty damage, if applicable.
  • Reim­burse­ment for any future ser­vices nor­mally pro­vided to you by the person who has died.
  • Reim­burse­ment for loss of con­sor­tium (spouse’s loss of com­pan­ion­ship, help and affec­tion).
  • Reim­burse­ment for any puni­tive dam­ages (if neg­li­gence is found to be criminal).
  • Proving Neg­li­gence

    Typ­i­cally, South Dakota Wrongful Death suits involve vehic­ular acci­dents (avi­a­tion, auto­mo­bile, ATV, motor­cycle or rail­road), defec­tive prod­ucts, med­ical mal­prac­tice, phar­ma­ceu­tical lia­bility, and a number of other sit­u­a­tions. The common ele­ment in most wrongful death actions is neg­li­gence. Negligence is the failure to use the standard of care that a reasonable person would have used in a similar situation.

    Neg­li­gence must be proven in wrongful death cases and our attorneys are skilled in helping clients prove that the four crit­ical com­po­nents of neg­li­gence exist in their claim:

  • That the defen­dant had a duty to the deceased;
  • That the defen­dant failed in that duty (breach of duty);
  • That the defendant’s breach was the cause of the fatality; and
  • That the sur­vivors are enti­tled to dam­ages as a result of the loss of their loved one.
  • In addition to estab­lishing neg­li­gence, the joint life expectancy of the deceased and the sur­vivor or ben­e­fi­ciary must be pre­sented (to establish the loss of future earnings). The rela­tion­ship of the sur­vivor and deceased must also be shown. Last, but certainly not least, effec­tive pre­sen­ta­tion of the non-economical or emo­tional loss suf­fered by the sur­vivor is crit­ical to a fair award of damages.

    Expe­ri­enced and Under­standing Rep­re­sen­ta­tion

    If you feel you have the basis for a South Dakota Wrongful Death claim, it is impor­tant to con­tact an attorney imme­di­ately. We will out­line the doc­u­men­ta­tion required, the deci­sions that must be made, and we will con­tinue to guide you through the legal process.

    At Gass Law, we rec­og­nize the deep trust placed in us by our clients, and we strive to uphold that trust by working hard and fighting hard for our clients. We do the best we pos­sibly can for every client on every case. Please contact us by calling (605) 692-4277, or filling out our contact form.

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