In most instances, wrongful death cases are brought to court when a relative dies due to the negligence or someone else. Every wrongful death case is different and presents a variety of facts and details. These cases come with several challenges; here are five main ones to consider.
Who Can File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?
Each state has separate statutes that dictate who can bring a wrongful death case to court. People who can file a claim include:
- the surviving spouse of the victim;
- the children of the victim if there is no surviving spouse;
- the victim’s parents if there is no spouse or children;
- the estate of the victim if the decedent has no surviving parents.
When to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit
Wrongful death lawsuits have a statute of limitations. Anyone with a claim due to the death of a relative must file their lawsuit within this time period. Failure to do so could prevent an individual from pursuing the case further. There is also a survival statute to consider if the victim survived the accident initially, only to die later as a result of the injuries they sustained.
It’s important for family members to know the regulations for their state of residence. It is imperative to get the advice of a lawyer before filing a case since there are separate statutes for wrongful death and survival.
Wrongful Death Case Preservation
The surviving family members shouldn’t wait until the very end of the time period allotted to file a wrongful death lawsuit. If evidence from the case is not properly preserved, it may no longer be in existence by the time you get around to filing. For instance, the witnesses may start to forget the details of the case over time. After years pass, you may no longer be able to locate these witnesses if they have moved or changed their contact information.
While these actions may be innocent, not being able to find a witness can affect your case. Hiring and retaining a wrongful death lawyer to investigate and preserve all the evidence of the case can increase the chances that you’ll receive a fair settlement.
Proving a Wrongful Death Case
Establishing that your loved one’s death was wrongful is often much easier said than done. Insurance companies and the attorneys that defend these companies will typically do whatever is legally in their power to avoid giving you a wrongful death settlement.
To prove your case, you have to show that the victim passed away as a direct result of a failure to act or negligent act of the defendant(s). After this is proven, you’ll also have to present evidence that there are surviving beneficiaries or relatives that are entitled to receive lawful damages because of the wrongful death.
What Are Eligible Damages?
The damages in a wrongful death lawsuit can be economic or noneconomic. Economic damages encompass financial loss that took place as a result of the victim’s death. This financial award covers the monetary benefits that the decedent’s family would have received had the victim not died.
Noneconomic damages are generally classified as pain and suffering since these damages include loss of companionship or consortium, sorrow, and grief that resulted from the victim’s death. Substantial evidence and civil procedure are involved in proving damages and awarding families the money they deserve.
If you’re facing a wrongful death lawsuit, you should consult with an attorney right away. Chances are you won’t know all the necessary steps to prove liability in a wrongful death case. Hiring a professional lawyer to represent you is essential. Contingency-based lawyers offer hope to personal injury victims at no risk. They will review all the information about your case to help you get the settlement you and your family deserve.