When a loved one dies due to the bad intentions or negligence of a person or entity it can be devastating. After experiencing the grief, loss and sorrow, it may become clear you can file a wrongful death lawsuit. This can help to provide the loved ones of the person who died with the resources they need to survive moving forward. Wrongful death lawsuits give survivors access to some of the money the victim would have generated and shared with the people they loved and who depended on them for financial support. A good wrongful death attorney can help with this process.
How A Wrongful Death Lawsuit Works
When someone dies due to the negligence or intentional actions of another, a wrongful death claim can be made through a special type of lawsuit. Wrongful death claims enable those close to the dead victim to sue the party legally liable for causing the death. A representative of the estate of the deceased person usually files wrongful death claims on the surviving family’s behalf. The laws governing this type of lawsuit varies from one state to another, so it’s essential the party filing the lawsuit have experienced, knowledgeable legal representation.
Choosing A Wrongful Death Attorney
There are several things to look for when choosing a wrongful death lawyer. First, make sure they have lots of experience successfully handling similar wrongful death cases. Pay attention to the number of wrongful death cases the lawyer won, lost and settled to ensure you are hiring a specialist who consistently gets great outcomes. Make sure the attorney has the proper training, certifications, documents and legal association memberships required to handle your case. The right attorney will be mindful of your feelings and wishes, value your time, let you know the documents you need to have and commit to be open and honest with you and communicate with you clearly throughout the entire process.
Recommendations, Fees And The Right Representative
When choosing a wrongful death attorney, check their reviews, see what is being said about them, who recommends them and why. Ask about the fees they charge, their overall cost and whether they work on contingency, get a percent of the judgement you receive and do not get paid until and unless they win your case. You should also ask who will be handling your case. Some law firms have you speak with an experienced representative when you initially come to them with your case. When the trial starts, they may assign a less experienced attorney to your case. This can negatively impact the outcome of your case.
The Necessary Resources
It is essential to ensure that the wrongful death lawyer you hire has all the necessary resources to research, prepare and present your wrongful death claim compellingly and convincingly. Properly preparing a wrongful death case requires a lot of research. The right law firm will have the support staff, investigators and technology required to gather, analyze and prepare all the important details of the case to make it clear to a judge and jury that the defendant is in fact legally liable for the death in question because of their negligence or intent and the loved ones of the deceased are entitled to significant financial compensation.
Informative, Supportive And Reliable
The law firm you choose to handle your wrongful death lawsuit should be informative, supportive and reliable. A good law firm and attorney will regularly provide you with all the information you need to help you understand what it will take for you to win your lawsuit. They will also be supportive of you in your time of need as you grieve the loss of your loved one and are attempting to handle all your expenses and take care of your responsibilities. They will make you aware of resources to help pay your loved one’s funeral expenses and be a reliable source of guidance through the entire process.
When Are Claims Of A Wrongful Death Applicable
Wrongful death claims arise in situations where a person would otherwise have had a valid personal injury case dies because wrongful action was taken by the defendant. This includes situations where a person is intentionally killed, dies due to medical malpractice or an automobile accident involving negligence. There are many other times when potential personal injury cases turn into cases of wrongful death. Claims related to wrongful death can come from just about any situation where personal injury occurs.
One of the exceptions is when injuries at work result in death. In most cases this type of death is handled via the worker’s compensation system.
What Has To Be Proven
For a defendant to be held liable for the wrongful death of another, plaintiffs must be able to meet the exact same burden of proof the deceased victim would have if they had survived and were filing a personal injury lawsuit. In negligence cases, plaintiffs are required to show the defendant breached their duty of care to the victim and the death was a proximate and direct result and the plaintiffs are entitled to recover damages. Attorneys with experience successfully handling wrongful death cases know exactly what evidence to present to the court to prove the defendant was liable for the death.
Which Loved Ones Can File Wrongful Death Claims
Wrongful death claims usually are filed by someone representing the deceased person’s estate on behalf of the survivors who were related to the victim. Which survivors have a right to file a wrongful death lawsuit varies from one state to another. A spouse or minor children of the deceased can file wrongful death actions on the victim’s behalf in all states. Parents of minors are also legally empowered nationwide to file wrongful death lawsuits should one or all of their minor children be killed through the willful action or negligence of someone else. The right lawyer can help make the process much easier and help the plaintiff get the compensation to which they are entitled.
Where States Disagree On Wrongful Death Claims
There many areas of disagreement among state governments as to who can file wrongful death lawsuits on behalf of deceased victims. They disagree on whether the parents of adult children have the right to sue. Can adult children file wrongful death lawsuits over their parents death or grown children, cousins, aunts, uncles or other extended relatives file a wrongful death lawsuit are all areas of disagreement among the states. As a general rule, the more distant a familial relationship the plaintiff has with the victim, the harder it is for them to file a wrongful death claim.
Romantic Partners And Wrongful Death Lawsuits
In some states it’s possible for a romantic partner of the dead person to file wrongful death claims. Those state governments say marriage is not a requirement. All that the person has to prove is the deceased agreed to and was providing financial support on which the surviving romantic partner was depending. However, those types of wrongful death lawsuits can be very complex and require the services of a skilled, experienced, knowledgeable attorney who can parse the intricacies of the law and prove their case to a judge and jury.
Wrongful Death Damages
Damages are the categories of losses in wrongful death claims for which survivors might be entitled to receive compensation. Those categories include the pre-death ‘pain and suffering’ of the deceased, the cost of the medical treatment the deceased incurred due to the injuries suffered prior to their death and funeral and burial costs. The loss of the expected income of the deceased, inheritance lost because of their death, the loss of consortium, love, companionship, nurturing, care and guidance the survivor would have received from the deceased, plus the value of the important services the victim would have provided, can all be considered damages for which the defendant is liable.
West Coast Trial Lawyers
If you want to ensure your attorney will get you the positive result you want and all the compensation you deserve for your wrongful death lawsuit, make sure the attorney is a West Coast Trial Lawyers member. This organization has earned a reputation for being the most knowledgeable and best prepared wrongful death lawsuit attorneys practicing today. If you want to ensure you get the best legal representation, ask the attorney if they are affiliated with the West Coast Trial Lawyers. This will help ensure they have the right team behind them to help you get all the compensation you deserve.
A Serious Issue
Each year more than 100,000 people in the United States die due to medical mistakes, workplace problems and car accidents. Few stop to consider the toll it takes on the dead person’s loved ones emotionally and financially. Wrongful death lawyers work to bring some solace and support to the grieving loved ones left struggling to survive when the breadwinner they depended on is snatched away from them. If someone you love is the victim of wrongful death, contact a wrongful death lawyer right away.