If an individual dies as a result of another person’s negligence or misconduct, this is considered a wrongful death. From automobile accidents to medical malpractice cases, there is a range of different scenarios that can fall into this classification.
If someone you love suffered a wrongful death, an attorney can help your family seek justice and fight for your rights. While this can be one of the most personal and deeply troubling experiences in your life, you do not have to go through these next steps alone.
Today, we’re sharing 10 important benefits of hiring attorneys for wrongful deaths and how our team at Sweet Law can help you navigate this path forward.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
Before we discuss how a lawyer can help, let’s cover what a wrongful death claim includes. In short, this is a legal action that one party brings against another person or entity. In this case, the plaintiff is accusing the defendant of performing negligent or intentional actions that caused the death of another person.
While many different scenarios can lead to a wrongful death, some are more common than others. These include:
- Automobile accidents
- Motorcycle accidents
- Commercial trucking accidents
- Aviation accidents
- Medical malpractice
- Product liability
- Work-related accidents
- Assault and battery
If you believe that your loved one died a wrongful death as a result of someone else’s actions, you need an attorney by your side. A Tucson, AZ lawyer can help you recoup damages, bring the at-fault party to justice, and seek closure as you move forward. Let’s take a look at a few of the top benefits of partnering with a local legal team.
1. Understand the Legal Context
When someone you love passes away, there are bound to be heightened emotions. This is especially the case if you believe their death might have occurred in a wrongful context.
You and your family members may be in a state of shock and extreme distress. Navigating a complex legal process might be the last thing on your mind. Thankfully, a wrongful death attorney specializes in cases just like yours.
They know all of the important steps that you need to take next, including who to speak to, where to go, and which wrongful death claim documents you need to complete. They’re also aware of critical timelines, including the wrongful death statute of limitations in your state. For instance, in Arizona, you have two years after the person’s death to file this type of lawsuit.
You don’t have to juggle the legal realm in addition to all of the other burdens you’re currently shouldering. When you trust an experienced attorney to the case, you can focus on what really matters and allow them to handle the complex conditions.
2. Avoid Mistakes
Without a working knowledge of how wrongful death claims work, you could make a critical error if you move forward on your own. This might mean waiting too long to file, completing the wrong documents, or misrepresenting yourself when communicating with the insurance company.
An attorney knows how to create the strongest case possible for you and your family. They’ll help you avoid these missteps and make sure that everything you submit is complete, correct, and always on time.
3. Collect Critical Evidence
If you plan to file a wrongful death claim against another party, you need evidence on your side. This requires the help of an expert investigator, who knows exactly what to look for.
A wrongful death lawyer will carefully review your case, taking the time to speak to key witnesses, gather evidence, and identify all of the liable parties. They can also work with their team of outside experts to better understand exactly what happened, including:
- Medical experts
- Accident reconstructionists
Throughout the investigation, it’s important to identify all parties that could be held responsible for your loved one’s death. Not only does this help increase your likelihood of receiving maximum compensation, but it also ensures that everyone responsible for the death is held liable for their actions.
From at-fault drivers to employers, automobile manufacturers, and even municipal bodies, there are many different individuals and entities that could have played a role in the case. An attorney can help uncover exactly what happened and ensure that the full scope of justice is served.
4. Simplify Insurance Negotiations
When seeking a settlement for your wrongful death claim, you could be in close communication with several insurance representatives. In addition to your own agent, you may also need to contact the insurance company representing the other party.
As you make these phone calls, remember that these agents may sympathize with your case, but they’ll still try to keep their financial responsibility to a minimum. If they can find any way to reduce the amount of blame that their own client carries, they’ll take it.
This can make these negotiations extremely frustrating and stressful. You may even be manipulated into saying something that works against you or makes it sound like the death wasn’t entirely wrongful.
When you hire a lawyer, they can take care of these conversations for you. They have experience working with insurance companies during a wrongful death, and they’ll know exactly what to say and what not to say. They’ll also recognize lowball settlement offers when they see them and will work to ensure that your compensation is as high as possible.
5. Secure Representation in Court
Many wrongful death claims are settled out of court with the insurance company. However, there are some cases that cannot be handled that way. When this occurs, the claim will turn into a lawsuit, and you’ll have the opportunity to present it in front of a judge.
While you can represent yourself in this situation, it’s much easier and more effective with an attorney by your side. These legal experts are well-versed in all of the steps that a lawsuit contains and can represent your best interests from the very beginning. In court, they can present evidence, cross-examine witnesses, and make compelling legal arguments to help you win your case and achieve the settlement you deserve.
6. Focus on Healing
Suffering the death of a loved one is a traumatic event. In the aftermath that follows a wrongful death, you need time to process what happened and allow yourself to grieve. You may not be in the proper headspace to handle the administrative tasks that filing a claim requires.
From submitting paperwork to making phone calls, reaching out to witnesses, and dealing with court proceedings, these activities are laborious and time-consuming. They also heap stress and anxiety on top of a situation that’s already upsetting.
When you allow a lawyer to take over, you can free up your mind and heart and truly begin the healing process. While this isn’t a linear journey and everyone deals with these next steps in their own way, it can be immensely helpful to know that someone else is handling all of the legal work on your behalf.
7. Maximize Your Settlement
A wrongful death lawyer can paint a full picture of just how much your family was impacted by the wrongful death of your loved one. This helps ensure that the settlement you receive is substantial enough to cover the full extent of your losses.
In general, there are three different types of damages to consider. These include:
Economic damages are directly related to the financial benefits that you would have received from your loved one if the death didn’t occur. These can include a loss of future income, loss of future benefits, loss of inheritance, and loss of household services. They can also include related funeral costs.
Non-economic benefits are equally important and can include:
- Loss of counsel
- Loss of consortium (the benefits of a family relationship)
- Emotional and mental anguish
If you can prove that the death occurred because the at-fault party acted recklessly or intentionally, then you may also be able to seek punitive damages. These are awarded to the plaintiff but are primarily intended to punish the wrongdoer.
Your lawyer can help you understand which of these damages apply to your case. Then, they’ll fight to make sure you’re compensated appropriately.
8. Save Time and Money
You might think that the legal process will go quicker if you handle the claim on your own. However, in most cases, you can save time and money by working with a wrongful death attorney.
When you go this route, you can avoid costly mistakes, maximize your settlement, and maintain your peace of mind. Most attorneys in this realm work on a contingency fee basis, which means they’ll take their earnings as a portion of your settlement and you won’t owe any money up-front.
9. Maintain Objectivity
As mentioned, this can be an incredibly emotional time for everyone involved. When your feelings are running high, you’re more likely to say or do something that isn’t within your character or context. A lawyer can put a necessary degree of separation in the case, serving as the mediator between your family and the defendant.
This way, you can make sure the claim stays fair and objective. You can also avoid making decisions that you may later regret.
10. Seek Justice and Receive Support
While your wrongful death attorney works to support your case and bring the at-fault parties to justice, you can also rest assured that they’ll be there to offer a listening ear. While you may also require the professional guidance of a counselor or therapist, talking to your lawyer can help you work through the details of the case and begin your personal healing journey.
They know you’re more than a number or a file. This death has impacted your family in an immeasurable way. They’ll give your case the attention, care, and personal dedication that it deserves from the start.
Contact Our Attorneys for Wrongful Deaths
If your loved one has died in or around Tucson, AZ as a result of someone else’s negligence or intentional act, you don’t have to fight this legal battle alone. At Sweet Law, our team includes attorneys for wrongful deaths, and we’re ready to help.
Hiring a lawyer is the first step toward relieving some of the pain, stress, and trauma that this event has caused. When you trust the details of your case to us, we’ll take care of the rest. Reach out to us today for a free consultation and let’s get started together.