Need to File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit? Here’s How

It’s natural to feel lost when you suddenly lose a loved one. It can become even more confusing if the death ends up being caused by someone else’s actions, whether they’re intentional or negligent. When this happens, you might be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of your loved one and get financial restitution for their loss. You will need to hire an attorney who can help you with this, and it will involve several steps.

Can You File a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit can be filed by someone very close to the deceased person, like their spouse or parents. This is especially the case when the person in question was exposed to a hazardous material that caused their illness or death. It is usually the job of the administrator of the deceased person’s estate, under court supervision, to file these lawsuits. The administrator needs to act as soon as possible after someone dies because there are time limits for filing wrongful death claims in most states. Also, if you wait too long, you could lose your right to file a claim, whether or not it’s true.

Preparing for Litigation

Before you begin litigation, you need to be well-prepared. Preparing for a wrongful death lawsuit is where the family members of the deceased go to court over what they believe was negligent or sometimes intentional behavior that caused their loved one’s death. Unfortunately, most people are not aware of what they should be doing right now in preparation for litigation, which can lead to further confusion down the line, and it will ultimately make things more difficult.

So, if your loved one has recently passed away due to someone’s negligence or intentional behavior, it is important that you understand what you should be doing right now at the beginning of the process. The following are some of the most common things people will typically do during this time:

Creation of a strategy – After you have all of this information, it’s time to create a wrongful death lawsuit strategy. You need to figure out who is responsible for your loved one’s death and whether or not you should go after them, as well as what types of damages were suffered as a result of their actions. According to the team at Kenneth M. Sigelman & Associates, to do this, you need to consult a personal injury lawyer that is an expert at medical malpractice and serious injury. Engaging a lawyer for wrongful death cases can help you create a strategy to get your claims. 

Decision of litigation route – In many cases, the family members of an individual who passed away will be forced to take legal action. However, in some other cases, they might decide not to take any legal action at all, either because the death was deemed an accident or because they do not want to go through with litigation.

Gathering evidence – Evidence is very important in court cases because it is what will prove your case in court. So, evidence should be gathered from the start of this process. In most cases, the family members of the deceased will need to gather evidence that proves where, when, and how their loved one died.

Identifying key parties – The key people related to the death should be identified as early in this process as possible. This includes the person who died, any witnesses to their death, any parties they were in contact with prior to their death, and anyone else related to the incident that is pertinent to your case.

How Will You Prove It Was the Other Party’s Fault?

You will need to be able to prove in court that another person acted in a negligent manner and caused the death of someone close to you. For example, if they drove while intoxicated or didn’t keep their product safe, and it led to the death of someone, those are grounds for a wrongful death lawsuit.

Also, in some cases, you can sue a company or institution for wrongful death. This is especially true when the person in question died because of their faulty products or due to someone else’s negligence with regard to their employees. Let’s look at steps to take when filing a wrongful death lawsuit.

Do You Want to Negotiate or Settle a Wrongful Death Lawsuit?

A wrongful death lawsuit is typically settled through negotiation. To begin the negotiation and/or settlement process, you should first contact an attorney that specializes in wrongful death cases. He or she will explain your legal options and help you decide how to move forward.

In general, a plaintiff usually files the lawsuit before negotiating the settlement with insurance companies or trying to resolve the case outside of court through alternative dispute resolution. Insurance companies are usually the defendants in wrongful death lawsuits, so they will be contacted first through a demand letter or calls to their legal representatives.

If your lawsuit is large enough to have significant value, you may also want to hire an attorney that specializes in lawsuits involving damage claims. He or she can help you reach an agreeable settlement with the insurance company. If all attempts fail, you may go to trial. A jury will typically determine the settlement of your wrongful death lawsuit if both parties cannot come to an agreeable agreement through negotiations. The jury will consider any factors that were brought up during the case and will hand down a verdict of money damages based on those factors.

Determine What Types of Damages You Will Sue For

Wrongful death lawsuits often include a claim for both economic and non-economic damages. Economic damages replace financial support that should have been provided by the deceased, such as lost income and benefits to you and your family. These damages can be difficult to determine without expert testimony but can be roughly calculated based on salary, projected future earning potential (if they were still working), and any other economic benefits the deceased provided to you.

Non-economic damages are harder to estimate but can include compensation for your pain and suffering, as well as punitive damages intended to punish the responsible party.

Filing the Suit for a wrongful death lawsuit

If you have reason to believe that someone’s negligence or recklessness has caused the death of a loved one, it is important that you take action immediately. Again, we must stress the importance of hiring an attorney in order to ensure that your claim is filed properly and completely. They will be able to answer any questions you may have and guide you through the process while providing effective representation for your case. It’s important to understand that while there is no specific formula for determining if you have a wrongful death claim, the following are some situations that warrant filing one.

If someone is killed as a result of being involved in an accident, then it’s likely that there was at least some type of negligence or recklessness involved. This could be car accidents, pedestrian collisions, slip and fall accidents, or someone being harmed as a result of using dangerous equipment or machinery. There are also times when someone dies because they were not given proper medical care after being injured or attacked.

The process of filing a wrongful death suit varies from state to state, but the most important thing to keep in mind is that you need to act quickly. There are strict time limits for filing any assignment of claims, so it’s important that you speak with an attorney right away if you think your loved one has died as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness.

Wrongful death lawsuits often involve medical costs related to injuries from the accident or crime, hospitalization, nursing home care, rehabilitation, and other medical expenses. In cases where a wrongful death lawsuit is filed against a governmental entity, you may also be able to recover for special damages such as loss of earnings/support you would have provided to your loved one if they had lived.

In many cases, the loss of a child is one of the most difficult damages to calculate in a wrongful death lawsuit but can include expenditures for funeral and burial expenses as well as non-economic damages such as your pain and suffering. As you can see, the process of filing a wrongful death claim is complex and may require hiring a lawyer.

It’s important to understand that there are time limits placed on your ability to file a suit for this type of claim, so it’s critical that you contact someone right away if you have any reason to believe that your loved one died as a result of someone else’s negligence or recklessness.

Posted by Lisa Eclesworth

Lisa Eclesworth is a notable and influential lifestyle writer. She is a mom of two and a successful homemaker. She loves to cook and create beautiful projects with her family. She writes informative and fun articles that her readers love and enjoy.