If someone you cared about was killed because of someone else’s negligence, then perhaps you’re interested in filing a wrongful death lawsuit.
While the suit won’t erase the emotional pain caused by the loss of a loved one, it will offer you a sense of justice and financial security.
There are many wrongful death lawsuits, but the most common examples include medical malpractice, car accidents, and even intentional murder. Animal bites, negligence in a nursing home, and premises liability also fall under wrongful death claims.
Especially if you’re going up against a powerful individual or company, it can feel impossible to understand the court process, develop strong arguments, and collect evidence.
That’s why so many people choose to hire a wrongful death attorney to help them through it.
But what should you look for in a wrongful death lawyer?
Read on to find out.
1. Experience with Similar Cases
Perhaps the most important quality to look for in a wrongful death attorney is a professional who has lots of experience in working with cases like your own.
OOf course, you want to work with an attorney that specializes in wrongful death lawsuits, but that alone often isn’t enough.
If your loved one was killed by a negligent motorcyclist, ensure that the lawyer you’re considering has had positive outcomes in other wrongful death motorcycle accident cases.
If you’re loved one died of kidney failure due to medical negligence, you need to feel confident that the attorney has gone up against large pharmaceutical firms, hospitals, and medical professionals before.
Ask about their experience not just in lawsuit payouts, but also if they were able to get the individuals responsible disbarred from working again in the future.
2. The Right Credentials
Filing a wrongful death lawsuit is seldom a simple procedure.
Companies and individuals responsible for your loved one’s death will hire the biggest legal powerhouses possible in order to avoid having to pay compensation or take a hit to their professional reputations.
If your attorney is inexperienced, this can mean you’re left with nothing, overpowered by the resources of the party you’re suing.
Ask about their court records, the size of past settlements they’ve reached, where they went to school, and the history of their career as a legal professional.
Also ask about how many of the lawsuits go to trial, and how many of them have settled out of court. You should also verify that they’re currently licensed with the American Bar Association to practice law in your state.
Finally, find out if they’re a member of any legal professional guilds or clubs. This will give you a good idea of the kinds of connections they have that may be able to strengthen your case.
3. Ask About Your Case
It’s imperative that you schedule a consultation with a wrongful death attorney before deciding to work with them.
First of all, doing so allows you to evaluate whether or not their communication style meshes with your own. Do you feel like they listened to the specifics of your unique case? Or, are you concerned that the advice they offered you was too general?
Were they able to answer all of the questions you had? Do you feel like they were able to teach you something? Did they take their time with you, or did they seem to rush you through to make way for their next appointment?
Now is also the time to ask the attorney for an overall case assessment.
First, ask them if they believe that you have a legitimate case, and, if so, the potential settlement you could expect. Also, ask them to help you to identify potential roadblocks, and figure out if you can likely settle out of court or if you’ll probably go to trial.
Finally, ask about how long they expect your case to take (with the understanding that this can sometimes be a challenge to accurately predict.)
4. Get Other Opinions
Perhaps you felt you had a very successful consultation with a wrongful death lawyer, and you’re strongly considering hiring them for your case.
Before you sign any contracts, make sure you do a bit more research on what past clients have experienced with this attorney. Ask to speak with two or more references, read online reviews, and even consider getting in touch with professional references to help you make the right choice.
Now is also the time to do your research and ensure that there aren’t any disciplinary actions against the attorney. (This information can easily be found on your state bar website.)
Ask references who else worked on their case, as well. You want to be certain that you’re not paying the attorney’s fee for someone who is really an intern or a lower-level employee.
Make the Right Choice in a Wrongful Death Attorney
Especially given the traumatic nature of a wrongful death court case, hiring the right wrongful death attorney to fight on your behalf can make you much more likely to get the results you deserve.
You don’t have to navigate complicated legal concepts on your own.
Need to learn more about the ins and outs of a typical wrongful death lawsuit?
Curious about the kinds of paperwork you’ll need to file, the right questions to have answers to, and what you can expect when it comes to how settlements pay out?
Our blog has all the answers to those questions and many more. Bookmark us to make sure you make the most of your day in court.