If you recently have lost someone you love due to the actions or negligence of another, you may be entitled to financial compensation. In fact, this compensation can be extremely high in some cases- a 13-year-old was once awarded $150 million after her involvement in a wrongful death lawsuit.
Watching a loved one die can be painful, but wrongful death cases allow the opportunity for compensation and justice. Read on to learn how you can file such a lawsuit with an experienced attorney to get a settlement.
Types of Wrongful Death Cases
“Wrongful death” is a broad term that encompasses all preventable deaths due to the negligence or careless actions of a third party. A wrongful death lawsuit takes place when the deceased’s loved ones file a claim to get compensation from those at fault.
There are several types of wrongful death cases that people file each year. Car crash lawsuits are the most common since about 90 Americans die in auto accidents each day. Those whose loved ones were involved in fatal accidents can often sue the other driver (or the company responsible if the crash took place on public transportation vehicles).
Truck and motorcycle accidents also may cause wrongful death lawsuits. Any fatal vehicle collision is a good reason to file a claim.
Medical malpractice is also a common reason for wrongful death cases. Some reasons that people might file these claims include misdiagnosis or failure to diagnose a condition. Mistakes during surgery and other treatments also can lead to these lawsuits.
Workplace accidents such as slip-and-fall or chemical exposure cases are another common cause of wrongful death. Many employers put their workers in dangerous situations by refusing to repair hazards or providing insufficient training. Being forced to work too many shifts and having an accident from exhaustion also might lead to a work-related wrongful death case.
You also may have a valid wrongful death claim if a loved one passes away because of a defective product. For example, someone whose phone or laptop blows up likely died due to negligence on the company’s part.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Claim?
Not anyone can file a wrongful death claim to get financial compensation. There are restrictions on what constitutes a “real party in interest.” Those who can file include:
- The spouse or legal domestic partner of the deceased
- Biological or legally adopted children
- Financially dependent parents
- Financially dependent stepchildren
- Legal guardians of the victim
Unfortunately, wrongful death lawsuits do not extend to unmarried partners or close friends. However, you should always consult with an attorney if you think that you have a valid claim based on financial dependency or a biological relationship.
Note that in California, wrongful death cases also have a statute of limitations. The claim must be filed within 2 years of the victim’s death. However, this may increase to 3 years in cases of medical malpractice.
Ins and Outs of Proof of Negligence
To prove that wrongful death occurred, the first thing that you will need to do is prove negligence or fault. This means that you must concretely show that someone who owed the deceased a duty of care breached that duty.
This breach may take place due to carelessness or recklessness. Proof of fault does not only extend to negligence. However, negligence is the most common reason for wrongful death.
The burden of proof is on the plaintiff, and it is almost impossible to prove fault without an experienced attorney. Wrongful death lawyers know what to look for when they visit the location of the accident. They will look into possible hazards that may have led to the incident.
- Access medical records to understand the impact of the incident
- Access police records for more information on the circumstances surrounding the accident
- Work with accident reconstruction teams to recreate what happened
- Determine whether or not the third party was legally liable based on what led to the wrongful death
- Obtain witness reports to learn the ins and outs of what happened
These initial steps can help attorneys understand the ins and outs of your case. They can then better assess the validity of your claim. This lets lawyers give you an accurate assessment of your situation so that you know what to expect in terms of financial compensation.
How Can You Win Appropriate Financial Compensation?
While you may think that negotiations will take place with the actual person at fault, this is usually not the case. The settlement process generally takes place with a representing attorney or insurance company.
These parties will offer initially low compensation because they do not want to pay what they owe. However, quality attorneys negotiate settlements to increase the amount of money that you will receive.
Attorneys are charged with calculating damages such as medical bills, funeral costs, and loss of income. In some cases, you may also get compensation for emotional anguish and grief. Once these damages are calculated, your lawyer will know how much money the other party owes and can get you a sum as close to that number as possible.
Hiring a professional, experienced, and talented attorney is the best thing that you can do to attain a fair settlement.
Get Financial Compensation With the Top Wrongful Death Attorney
The death of a loved one is always a painful experience. However, filing wrongful death cases can help you to get financial compensation and the feeling of a sliver of justice. Now that you know all about how to win a wrongful death lawsuit, it’s time to get started.
Our experts are committed to helping you file your claim and get the best possible compensation. That’s why we look forward to learning the ins and outs of your situation and beginning the proof-of-negligence process. Contact us for a free consultation so that we can discuss your claim in detail.