Wrongful death is defined as an untimely or unnatural death of a person due to the fault of another. Although the term “wrongful death” may seem easy to understand, it has different legal implications in every state. Here is how wrongful death lawsuits work and what to do if you are put in this situation.
What is a wrongful death lawsuit?
A wrongful death lawsuit is a personal injury case filed to seek damages from any party who can be held liable for the death of an individual. The claim must be filed by a representative of the deceased person’s estate, which may include family members or close friends depending on the situation and state law. In most states, there is a time limit that limits how long after the incident you have to file your claim. For example, in many states, you have two years from the date of injury to file a wrongful death suit. It is important to understand these rules so as not to lose this opportunity.
So, here is what to do.
1. Hire a wrongful death attorney
The term “wrongful death” is often misunderstood. Victims are not only family members of the deceased, but any other parties that were affected by the suffering or death of another person. These damages can include medical costs, funeral expenses, loss of income due to someone else’s negligence, and many other financial consequences associated with suffering a wrongful death. For example, if you have experienced the loss of your loved one due to an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, it is crucial that you work accordingly to get the compensation needed for your loss. The sooner you contact an attorney, the better off you will be. If you live in Philadelphia, you can hire a Philadelphia wrongful death attorney, and you will receive the help you need. Getting an attorney is crucial because this is not an easy process. You need an experienced wrongful death attorney by your side who has been through the process before.
2. Speak with the defendant’s insurance company
Once you have hired an attorney, you and your attorney need to contact the defendant’s or responsible party’s insurance company within a reasonable amount of time. The insurance company will want to protect its interests, so they need to conduct their own investigation, which means it is likely that you and/or your attorney will be dealing with several attorneys from the insurance company throughout this process. Do not forget that in most states, there is a time limit for you to file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier, so do not delay. Working with an experienced attorney can help you in communicating effectively and efficiently with this potentially adversarial party. After you have filed the claim, you will need to follow up on anything that your attorney has to say about your case. You need to know all details, even the ones that you may not want to hear. If there are any changes in your case or if anything has happened, you will need to be aware of it as soon as possible. When you think about it, the sooner you contact an attorney, the better off you will be.
3. Collect any evidence
You and your attorney should also gather evidence that the defendant was responsible for causing your loved one’s death. The more evidence you can collect, the stronger your case will be. However, there is a time limit to how long you have to preserve this evidence. If no action has been taken within two years of the incident, it is unlikely that you will be able to file a claim or win your case. If you have suffered the loss of a loved one, it is crucial that you take action immediately. Do not let your emotions get in your way when you are making important legal decisions. Work with an experienced wrongful death attorney to make informed choices about what you need to do next. An attorney can help guide you through this difficult process and give you advice on how best to proceed, and that includes collecting evidence.
4. Seek compensation for loss of income
It is not just about receiving money to cover medical bills. If your loved one was the provider of your family, you should also seek compensation for the loss of that person’s salary or wages. This can help you recover from this financial burden and allow you to move forward without further financial struggles. An experienced wrongful death attorney will recognize all damages associated with a wrongful death claim, including loss of income due to someone else’s negligence. Once again, do not delay because there are time restrictions in place on how long you have to file a claim before the statute of limitations expires.
If you have lost a loved one in an accident that was caused by someone else’s negligence, you need to know what your legal rights are. It can be difficult dealing with this kind of loss on your own, so it is important to seek the advice and counsel of an attorney who has experience handling these kinds of situations.