A member of your family heads off to the mall, work, or a medical appointment. Then the phone rings notifying you they have died or been killed. When this happens due to another person’s misconduct, surviving family members can sue for wrongful death.
When a personal injury results in death you need an attorney familiar with this special area of law. Now is the time to schedule an appointment with wrongful death lawyers. A person’s wrongful death may be the result of medical malpractice, traffic accidents, homicide, police brutality, exposure to toxic chemicals, equipment malfunctions, and more.
Wrongful death lawsuits focus on the damages the deceased person’s family incurs. This includes everything from funeral service costs, emotional distress, loss of income, loss of companionship, and more. Here are the benefits of hiring a wrongful death attorney.
1. Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Each state has its own laws regarding who may file a wrongful death lawsuit. It is generally people related to the deceased. It may also be someone financially dependent on that person.
In California, the people who can sue for damages is set forth in the Code of Civil Procedure §377.60 and includes:
- Decedent’s surviving spouse
- Decedent’s surviving domestic partner
- Decedent’s children and the issue of deceased children
- If no surviving spouse, domestic partner, or issue, then the person’s who would be entitled to property by intestate succession
The law also provides circumstances under which a putative spouse, children of a putative spouse, stepchildren, or a minor may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit. Wrongful death attorneys are familiar with these requirements and will advise you accordingly.
Your attorney will also be familiar with the statute of limitations regarding wrongful death. In California, this is two years from the date the person dies. If you do not file a lawsuit by that deadline you have lost the opportunity to recover your losses.
2. Learn the Whole Truth
It may not be clear what caused your loved one’s death. The responsible party is not going to be forthcoming with information.
For example, if someone dies due to a misstep in a medical procedure, the doctors, staff, and medical facility will quickly form a shield of protection. Their goal is to safeguard their practice and professional interests. You are not likely to get a complete answer on what took place.
This is where your wrongful death lawyer charges forward and breaks that protective shield. Your attorney’s goal is to find out exactly what happened.
This may require hiring investigators and experts who will review all evidence to learn exactly what happened. They will know what professionals to hire that will meet the legal requirements for submitting the evidence in court.
3. Protection of Your Family’s Financial Future
A wrongful death lawsuit is not a sign of greed. It is the recovery of loss you experience due to your loved one’s unexpected death. The loss can be significant if the deceased was the primary wage earner or primary caregiver of minor children.
In addition to day-to-day living expenses, those left behind will need to handle funeral and medical bills. These can easily run several thousand dollars. You may also recover the loss of future income from your loved one.
4. Do Not Deal With Insurance Companies on Your Own
In many instances, the negligent party will have insurance to cover a wrongful death lawsuit. To mitigate their loss, the insurance company will offer a low settlement figure hoping family members will agree. Without knowledge of the law, you may settle for a far lesser amount of compensation than allowed by law.
Once a family member accepts a settlement offer, they lose the opportunity to obtain a larger amount in a lawsuit. Your wrongful death lawyers are familiar with quick-stepping insurance company tactics. They will meet them step-for-step by sidelining them with indisputable evidence in support of your case.
5. Knowledge of the Law and Court Procedures
Trying to navigate the legal process on your own leaves you open to errors that can cost you your case. A wrongful death attorney is familiar with legal negotiations, court procedures, and the law surrounding wrongful death claims.
When you are dealing with the emotional impact of your loss it is easy to lose track of deadlines. You may make mistakes because you do not understand legal procedures. These errors can result in the dismissal of your case.
To receive compensation in a lawsuit, your complaint must set forth the elements of wrongful death. In California the elements are:
- That the death of a person was the result of
- The willful intent or negligence of another
- That as a result of that death there has been a loss of love, affection, and emotional support
- That the death of the person causes a loss of financial support and other assistance such as yard work, housework, child care, etc.
The lawsuit will include a request for damages (money) to compensate for your loss. The wording in complaints must include the element and facts in support of that element.
Wrongful death attorneys understand the emotional trauma you are going through. They are able to handle your claim without emotion and with professional legal knowledge.
They will interview witnesses and subpoena medical and accident records. They will prepare and respond to motions, interrogatories, requests to admit, and more.
If unable to reach a settlement, your attorney will prepare for trial. They will conduct voir dire (jury selection) and present your case to the judge and jury. Your wrongful death attorney will know how to introduce evidence and conduct an examination of all witnesses.
Consult With Wrongful Death Lawyers
The sudden loss of a loved one due to another person’s negligent actions is traumatic. The wrongful death lawyers at Sweet Lawyers understand this. We will handle your case with professional care and fight to obtain the compensation you deserve, allowing you time to deal with the emotional impact of your loss.
Contact Sweet Lawyers today at (800) 674-7854 to schedule a free consultation. You may also contact us by text, email, or use our online form. We have professionals available 24/7 to respond to your questions.