Losing a loved one can be the most disheartening time of your life. And that, too, if it was the result of a wrongful death caused by someone else’s fault.
This not only has an emotional toll on the entire family but also leaves a financial dent if the person was the breadwinner of the house.
However, in case of wrongful death, you can seek compensation for all the emotional and financial loss caused by the negligence of a third party. In such cases, a wrongful death lawyer is the best person to help. The lawyer will handle all the lawsuits related to the death and will help you get fair compensation.
Before we jump into the role and responsibilities of a wrongful death lawyer, let’s know more about what a wrongful death claim is and who can file for the claim.
What Is a Wrongful Death Claim?
A wrongful death case occurs when the negligence of a person, group of individuals, or a company causes severe injury, which leads to the death of the person. It’s the same as other civil lawsuits with one different fact that the actions of the defendant resulted in death and not just injuries. The defendant is held liable to pay for all the emotional and financial damage.
Wrongful death cases can be brought by car accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian accidents with motor vehicles, slips and falls, nursing home abuse, and medical malpractice, to name the most common ones.
Who Can File for a Wrongful Death Claim?
Wrongful death statutes differ from state to state, but the laws are slightly different about who has the right to sue for wrongful death and other specifications. For instance, in Florida, the personal representative or heirs of the deceased may file a lawsuit for a financial claim.
A personal representative could be the surviving family members, including the spouse, a parent, an adult child, or any relative appointed by the court. In some cases, a professional personal representative can be hired, such as an attorney.
Role of a Wrongful Death Lawyer
- Investigates Your Case: The facts and information involved in wrongful death lawsuits are often gloomy. Both parties (the defendant and the victim) may have conflicting views regarding the whole incident. Hiring a wrongful death lawyer helps look at the case with accurate and liable information.
He can investigate to get to the bottom of the entire scenario and collect the needed evidence. For instance, if your loved one died in a car mishap, an attorney could investigate the place of the accident or review the police report for minute details.
- Helps You Explain Your Legal Rights: Wrongful death lawsuits vary from state to state. In some states, you might not be eligible to seek compensation. Some states restrict the right to sue immediate family members, while some allow distant relatives and nonrelatives.
There are states where the family members may not qualify to sue at all, and only a personal representative appointed by the court might apply for a claim. If the representative gets the claim, he distributes the compensation fund to eligible family members.
Many states also offer a given time frame (which is usually a year or two) for applying the claim. If you miss the deadline to file a lawsuit, the state might forfeit your right to apply for the claim, even if the claim application was legitimate. A wrongful death attorney can guide better about the state laws.
- Helps You Seek Financial Compensation: A wrongful death attorney can cover both your economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages include:
- Medical bills received before the death of the person
- Funeral and burial expenses
- Loss of income due to death of the person
- Loss of future income
Non-economic damages are tricky to be named. Often, these damages include:
- The pain and suffering caused to the deceased person
- The pain and suffering caused to be family
- Loss of love, support, companionship, etc.
The lawyer will look after all the legal proceedings regarding the claim. To build a strong case, they will consider all the necessary evidence and will utilize them to secure you a fair compensation deal. He will also deal with the defendant party’s insurance company to negotiate a fair settlement.
Unlike other civil lawsuits, handling a case of wrongful death can be quite challenging. Hiring an experienced attorney can save you time, manage the case well, and can offer you a fair settlement deal to cover all your losses.