Everything You Need to Know About Filing a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
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Have you recently lost a loved one due to another person’s negligence? Have you heard about a wrongful death lawsuit, but you aren’t sure if you qualify or the steps in that process? Did you know that hiring a wrongful death lawyer to help you with your case can improve your chances of getting the compensation you deserve?
Losing someone to an event that the negligent party could have avoided is an overwhelming experience that no one should have to go through alone. If you lost someone you love to a negligent party, you and your family could receive the compensation you deserve. Continue reading below to learn more about wrongful death lawsuits and who you can call for additional guidance.
What Is a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
If a person is killed or dies due to another person’s negligence, the survivors of the deceased may sue the negligent party for wrongful death. This type of legal help seeks compensation for the survivors’ loss, including lost companionship, lost wages, and burial expenses. An example of a wrongful death lawsuit will be if someone dies due to the fault of a drunk driver.
Who Can Sue for Wrongful Death?
Each state has its own statutes that outline who can sue for wrongful death. In Georgia, the deceased’s family can file a lawsuit to claim the full value of the decedent’s life.
In general, families must file a wrongful death case within two years of the death. This timeline can eighter be shorter or longer, depending on the case’s situation.
Typically, the deceased’s spouse can file this type of claim, but if there is no surviving spouse, the children of the deceased can file a lawsuit. If there are no children, the parents of the recently deceased can bring forth a wrongful death case.
The Full Value of Life
The full value of life is something that is measured from the point of view of the person who passed away. There are two parts to the full value of life: tangible and intangible.
The tangible factor would include money that the descendant would have earned if they were still alive. It also consists of the value of any household tasks or jobs the decedent handled for the family.
Intangible factors include the relationships the deceased had with their family. The deceased’s reasons for living are also taken into consideration.
When Can You File a Wrongful Death?
These types of lawsuits are designed to compensate survivors for certain damages and losses. A wrongful death claim can come up in situations where the person who died could have made a personal injury claim had they not passed away—for example, a medical malpractice suit. If a doctor fails to diagnose a condition properly or if they are negligent in the patient’s care and they die as a result, the survivors can file a wrongful death suit.
As mentioned earlier, if a loved one dies in a car accident due to the negligence of another driver, you may have a wrongful death case. The other driver doesn’t have to just be a drunk driver; your case just must show that they were negligent and it caused the death of your loved one.
For example, if the other driver was on their phone while driving and they hit your loved one’s vehicle, causing their death, that still is grounds to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If another driver is on the job at the time of the death, the driver’s employer may be held responsible.
If someone you love died while on a commercial property or another person’s residential property, you may be eligible for compensation through their renter’s or commercial liability policy. If the death is due to the negligence of the owner of those properties, you may need to speak with a lawyer to see if there is a possible wrongful death suit.
Potential Wrongful Death Compensation
As mentioned earlier, this case was designed to compensate survivors for any future lost wages and other types of damages. For example, you can potentially recover medical costs when you file a wrongful death case.
If your loved one received medical treatment or was in the hospital before they passed, you can potentially receive compensation. Hospital bills and other types of medical care can quickly add up, and you shouldn’t have to shoulder that type of debt.
If your loved one was involved in a car accident, you could possibly claim for the vehicle’s damages. Additionally, if the accident resulted in other types of property damage, you too could claim those damages.
Loss of Earnings
It is challenging to get your family’s finances on track if your loved one who passed away was the primary source of income. You may be wondering how you’re going to put food on the table while trying to keep up with other financial responsibilities like rent or utilities.
Adding medical expenses to this mix can quickly become a complicated and highly stressful situation. If you partner with a reputable attorney, they will make sure to get your family the compensation you deserve so that your family can stay afloat during this difficult time.
Pain and Suffering
Pain and suffering isn’t a tangible type of compensation like medical bills are. Pain and suffering are non-economic types of damage you can claim.
Before your loved one passed away, they may have experienced pain and suffering, which is something your family could recover from. While this isn’t an economic loss, it is still a consequence of the accident.
Loss of Consortium
Loss of companionship, support, and guidance are challenging aspects for you and your family to handle. These are non-economic damage in a wrongful death claim that your reputable lawyer can fight for on your behalf.
Mental anguish and emotional distress caused by the death of your loved one are also non-economic damages you can claim in a wrongful death case. The emotional strain you and your family go through is indescribable, especially if the negligent party could have avoided their death. The emotional distress you and your family endure is something you deserve to be compensated for.
Should I Hire a Wrongful Death Lawyer?
Although you don’t necessarily need a wrongful death attorney to bring forth a wrongful death claim, you may want to consider working with one. Navigating the court system on your own can be extremely stressful and trying, especially if you have no previous court experience. There are also other benefits of hiring an attorney, such as having someone who can offer you objectivity.
Losing someone you love is a devastating experience to go through, and it can leave you upset, sad, confused, and unsure of what to do next. When you are in that state of mind, can you be confident that you can make the right decision for your case?
Will you be able to handle the stress of the other party claiming that your loved one was at fault for their death? Instead of dealing with that on your own, you may want to look into hiring an attorney.
When you hire a lawyer who can offer objectivity, they can make clear and concise decisions. They don’t have the same emotions attached to the case as you do. So while you focus on healing and taking care of your family, your attorney can take care of handling the case.
Top Tier Negotiation Skills
Due to their experience handling similar cases to yours, wrongful death lawyers know how to evaluate the value of your claim. They also have the expertise in negotiating with other lawyers and insurance companies.
Your wrongful death lawyer will thoroughly evaluate the claim to assess all the ways the incident affected your family. With that information, they will be able to argue the best case possible for you.
Will Meet Deadlines
Handling a wrongful death case is more than just submitting a claim and waiting for a response. You have to meet with the other attorney, present evidence, argue your side, and wait for a final decision.
During the course of a lawsuit, there are court dates, important deadlines, and paperwork that you must turn in at a particular time. If you have a family and a job to go to every week, you may not have enough time to meet those obligations.
Instead, you can work with an attorney who will make sure to show up on your behalf. They know what documents the court needs, and they have a team that will keep your claim moving.
Can Take Your Case to Trial
Not all wrongful cases go to trial, but if yours does, you will want to make sure you have a passionate and experienced attorney to handle the case if it does. Most parties mediate and can conclude instead of going through a trial.
How to Find the Right Attorney
Wrongful death lawsuits are extremely sensitive cases, and you want to make sure that you work with an attorney who knows what they’re doing. It would be best if you worked with someone who understands your case and can provide you with the results you need.
Check Their Reviews
Online reviews are a great source to gauge what other clients did or did not like about working with the attorney. You can use websites like the Better Business Bureau, Yelp, or Google Reviews to better understand what others have to say.
The best way to find out if the attorney is best for you, you should check them out yourself. Most attorneys offer free no-obligation case evaluations. When meeting with the attorney, please pay attention to how they make you feel and how the staff treats you.
Ask About Their Fees
Most reputable attorneys work on a contingency fee basis which means you won’t have to pay anything unless your case wins. If you win your case, your wrongful death attorney will take their fees from your settlement amount.
Who Will Be On Your Case?
It isn’t uncommon for an attorney to have a team of people helping them manage your case. What is unusual is for an attorney to say they will take on your case just to hand it over to a junior attorney who doesn’t have the same amount of experience. If your attorney isn’t clear about how they will handle your case, you may want to reach out to another attorney for additional help.
How Long Does It Take To Settle?
The time it takes to settle your case will depend on your situation. No two wrongful death cases are the same as there are several factors your attorney considers when evaluating your claim.
If your case goes to court, you can expect to add more months, if not years, to your timeline. If your case is taking too long and you need to pay for expenses now, you can ask your attorney about a pre-settlement funding solution.
There are several companies that your attorney can partner with to provide them with information about your case. If approved, you can receive the funding you need to keep your family afloat.
Get the Compensation You Deserve
Wrongful death lawsuits are something that you should not have to go through on your own, especially while you and your family grieve the loss of your loved one. Not only are these lawsuits time-consuming, but they are also mentally and emotionally draining.
Instead of fighting for the compensation, you’re entitled to, leave that hard work to a wrongful death attorney. They will take care of all the paperwork, deadlines, meetings, and court procedures for you.
If you lost someone due to another person’s negligence, contact us now for a free no-obligation case evaluation. Our team is here to support you and answer any questions you may have.