When someone we love dies suddenly, unexpectedly, or as a result of another person’s negligence, it can be challenging. Not only are we left to deal with our grief, but often we have to fight for what is rightfully ours. This is where a wrongful death lawyer comes in. They can help you navigate the legal system and ensure you receive the compensation you deserve.
Wrongful Death Overview
To understand how a wrongful death lawyer can help you, it is first essential to understand what wrongful death is. So, what is wrongful death and how does it apply to their case? In short, wrongful death occurs when someone dies due to another person or entity’s negligence or intentional harm. For a death to be considered wrongful, there must be some duty owed to the deceased, which was breached, resulting in their death.
For example, if a doctor fails to diagnose a patient’s cancer promptly, the patient dies. As a result, this would be considered a wrongful death. The doctor owed the patient a duty of care, and by not diagnosing cancer promptly, they breached that duty.
Similarly, if a driver runs a red light and hits a pedestrian, causing their death, this would also be considered wrongful death. The driver owed the pedestrian a duty of care to follow traffic laws, and they breached that duty when they ran the red light.
Now that you have a better understanding of what wrongful death is let’s look at how a wrongful death lawyer can help you if you’ve lost a loved one.
When proving negligence in a wrongful death case, there are typically four elements that must be met. These elements are duty, breach, causation, and damages. Duty is the legal term for what is referred to as a “duty of care .”In order for a death to be considered wrongful, there must have been a duty owed to the deceased by the person or entity that caused their death.
The breach is when someone breaches that duty. In other words, they fail to meet the standard of care owed to the deceased. Causation is when it can be proven that the breach of duty was the direct cause of the death. And finally, damages are what the victim’s family receives as compensation for their loss.
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to receive damages. These damages can be either economic or non-economic. Economic damages are those that have a specific monetary value attached to them.
This could include medical bills, funeral expenses, loss of future earnings, and more. Non-economic damages do not have a specific monetary value but cause the victim’s family hardship. This could include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, mental anguish, and more.
In some cases, punitive damages may also be awarded. Punitive damages are intended to punish the person or entity responsible for the death and deter them from engaging in similar behavior in the future.
Filing A Lawsuit
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be considering filing a wrongful death lawsuit. But before you do, you should keep a few things in mind. First, it’s essential to understand that there is a statute of limitations for filing a wrongful death lawsuit. This means you only have a certain amount of time after your loved one’s death to file a lawsuit. If you wait too long, you may be barred from recovery.
Second, you should know that not every family member is entitled to file a wrongful death lawsuit. In most cases, only the deceased’s spouse, child, or parent can file a wrongful death lawsuit. However, this rule has some exceptions, so discussing your case with a lawyer is essential.
Finally, you should know that filing a wrongful death lawsuit is complex and time-consuming. If you decide to file suit, you will need to gather evidence, locate witnesses and expert witnesses, draft pleadings, and more. This is why it’s so important to have an experienced lawyer on your side.
Dealing With The Insurance Company
You will likely be dealing with the insurance company if you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. And while they may seem friendly and helpful, it’s important to remember that they are not on your side.
Insurance companies are in the business of making money. They collect premiums and pay out as little as possible on claims. So, when you file a claim for wrongful death, the insurance company will do everything possible to minimize the amount they have to pay.
They may try to deny your claim outright or delay payment indefinitely. They may also try and lowball you on the settlement offer. If you accept their offer, you will waive your right to take further action.
Settling Your Case
If you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence, you may be considering settling your case. Settling means that you and the other party agree on how much money you will receive without going to court.
You should keep a few things in mind if you’re considering settling your case. First, you should understand that the other party is not required to settle. They may be willing to go to court and risk losing rather than settle with you.
Second, you should know that settling your case will likely mean that you receive less money than you would if you won in court. The other party will want to minimize their payout to lowball you on the settlement offer.
Third, you should know that settling your case will likely mean that you give up your right to take further action. Once you settle, you will not be able to go back and ask for more money even if new evidence comes to light.
So, while settling your case is an option, you should discuss it with a lawyer before making a decision. They can help you understand the pros and cons of settling and ensure you get the best possible outcome for your case.
You may be entitled to compensation if you’ve lost a loved one due to someone else’s negligence. But getting the compensation you deserve can be a complex and time-consuming process.
This is why it’s so important to have an experienced wrongful death lawyer on your side. They will investigate your case, build a strong argument and fight for the maximum compensation you deserve.