Reclaiming Your Life after a Devastating Accident

Is It Possible To Hold Someone Liable For The Suicide Of A Loved One?

by Stacy Dean

The loss of a loved one is difficult to cope with it. When that death is the result of a suicide that was possibly caused by another party, it can be even more to handle. If you believe that another party is responsible for your loved one's suicide, here is what you need to know.

Can You Sue the Other Party?

A wrongful death lawsuit is filed when another party's negligence led to the death of another. The case is often proven by showing a causal link between the party's actions and the incident that led to the death. In a case involving a suicide, you are still charged with proving there is a link. However, doing so can be particularly challenging.

Whether the defendant, or other party, is responsible for your loved one's suicide depends on if the death was predictable or foreseeable. In other words, was it possible for the defendant to predict the actions of your loved one and was there anything that could have been done to prevent the death?

The amount of time between the discovery of the possibility of suicide and the act also plays a role in if you can take legal action. If there was sufficient time for the defendant to act, the court could view him or her as liable.

What If the Suicide Is Linked to a Medication?

One of the unfortunate side effects of some medications is suicidal thoughts and an increased risk of depression. Whether a pharmaceutical manufacturer is responsible for a suicide that results from using the medication is sometimes hard to prove.

To win your case, you would have to show that the manufacturer was somehow negligent. For instance, if the company failed to adequately test the medication and did not discover the risk of suicide until after one or more occurred, the manufacturer could be liable.

Even if the manufacturer was aware of the risk, it could still be considered liable if there were not adequate warnings given to the public regarding the use of the medication.

Sometimes, more than just the manufacturer could be held responsible. If your loved one's doctor failed to warn him or her of the risk of depression and suicidal thoughts, you could potentially claim medical malpractice. The same is true if the pharmacist did not include warnings regarding the use of the medication.   

An attorney can help you determine if you and your family can legally act after losing a loved one to suicide.