A wrongful death lawyer is similar to a personal injury lawyer, except that the victim of a motor vehicle accident, medical malpractice, fall or other negligence will have died as a result of his injuries, and the attorney now represents the victim’s survivors as they seek legal and/or financial compensation. The attorney must be able to prove both the effects of the injury and the liability for it.
What is a WRONGFUL DEATH Attorney?
A wrongful death lawyer handles cases where there has been a death due to negligence or misconduct of another person. Wrongful death attorneys must be the accuser’s representative in order to file a wrongful death suit. Wrongful death lawyers also consult over the legal paperwork for the victims. Wrongful death lawyers are consultants in their field of law and should be contacted for all legal advice. There may be a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit, so consult with an attorney as soon as possible.
FACTS ABOUT WRONGFUL DEATH LAW
If you are ever involved in a wrongful death lawsuit, a wrongful death lawyer can give you legal advice on what to do. If a loved one has been a victim of a wrongful death lawsuit, a wrongful death attorney can guide you through the legal bureaucracy of the lawsuit. Since a wrongful death lawsuit is a very serious matter, consulting with a wrongful death lawyer is probably a good idea.
How Our Wrongful Death Lawyers Can Help
If you’ve lost a family member due to the negligence of another party, you may be entitled to compensation for your pain and terrible suffering. Complete the brief form to the right and our wrongful death lawyers will be in touch with you as soon as possible to inform you of your rights and legal options.
Death is a question that survivors ask each other. In the aftermath of a tragic loss, each family member wonders what could’ve been done to prevent the incident, how they might make different choices that could result in their loved one still being in this world. Hindsight is the enemy of recovery. Agonizing over the details won’t bring a loved one back – but what if they could prevent harm to others? Suppose a single act against the reckless parties who caused a family member’s death could save lives down the road? That would give this one death purpose, and bring to justice those whose carelessness led to the untimely death of a father, a mother, husband or brother. A wrongful death lawsuit can do all of these things, provided an experienced legal team is behind the claim.
Identifying Negligence in an Accident Claim
Just because they call it an ‘accident’ doesn’t mean all parties are blameless when someone suffers severe injuries or dies as a result of an incident. How do attorneys determine whether or not a given accident has strong factors in its favor in filing a personal injury claim? They examine the event for signs or evidence of negligence. This helps determine fault, and who is liable for the damages incurred by those injured or killed as a result of the other party’s reckless behavior.
- Car Accidents: negligence in automotive crashes where there are fatalities comes down to obeying traffic laws, and determining who broke them in the moments leading up to the collision.
- Workplace Injuries: defective machinery or violations of state/federal safety standards can make a business or product manufacturer liable for the death of an employee when the products or lax safety protocols are prime factors in the worker’s loss of life.
- Criminal Behavior: an assault or other crime leading to death shows a careless disregard for life and may be, in and of itself, a compelling sign of negligence. A criminal court conviction is not necessary to pursue a claim. The parents of Nicole Brown Simpson famously pursued O.J. Simpson for damages in the murder of their daughter even after a jury acquitted him of murder charges.
- Medical Malpractice: a careless mistake by a medical professional leading to the death of a patient is an act of negligence.
Where Does Compensation Come From?
Pursuing an individual who caused the death of someone you love might satisfy an innate sense of right and wrong, but it won’t provide much in the way of compensation. When smart attorneys file a claim against a negligence party, the person behind the wheel or controlling a scalpel is named, but not “pursued” for compensation. Individuals usually have very little in the way of assets to claim to provide the family of someone who’s died with the damages they actually deserve.
So where does the money come from? Relevant insurance policies.
Professionals and private citizens purchase insurance for a reason – to offset the risk of causing harm to others in the course of their work duties or covered activities. The law requires many professions, including surgeons and construction contractors, to have certain amounts of liability insurance to safeguard those injured as a result of their carelessness.
Of course, the insurance company doesn’t just hand out checks for damages without an investigation, especially in cases where their policyholder caused the death of someone else. They might even refuse to pay, claiming their policyholder wasn’t responsible for causing the family’s grievous loss. Hiring an experienced law firm to handle the claims process can reduce the chances the insurance company handles a given case with such an unreasonable stance, and may also increase the compensation a family receives as a result.
Why Lawyers Obtain Higher Awards for Damages
The average person doesn’t have the financial backing to hire special investigators and experts to dig into evidence and reconstruct a crash scene. A law firm does. Hiring legal professionals to pursue parties whose reckless behavior contributed to a family member’s death helps the claims process because they’re able to accumulate compelling evidence that the insurance company can’t ignore. Additionally, having legal backing gives the claim teeth because the insurer knows there’s always the possibility of a lawsuit if they don’t settle amicably. Typically, a firm handling a wrongful death claim pursues the case in several parts:
- Evidence Gathering: determinations of liability from reconstruction of the scene, witness interviews and gathering of pertinent medical information.
- Contact with Insurance Company: notification of representing the family and submission of demand package for settlement demand.
- Negotiations for Settlement: the firm’s lawyers may negotiate with the insurance company to bring the claim to a successful resolution. If the insurer doesn’t agree to terms that the client finds acceptable, the team escalates the process.
- Filing a Lawsuit: if the two sides don’t agree to a settlement within the relevant statute of limitations – usually two years from the date of the incident – the lawyers representing the family file a lawsuit. This puts the case before a judge and jury who will decide the claim’s value and assign an award for damages.
A jury trial is a major gamble for the insurance company, and depending on the careless conduct of their policyholder, one where they could stand to lose millions of dollars. The more experienced the lawyers fighting for the surviving family, the less inclined the insurance company is going to be to go forward with a trial. The case might reach settlement in the hours before the trial commences, or in the elevator on the way to the courtroom.